ONLINE EVENT: Summit of the Americas and Migration – A Human Rights Response to the Regional Migration Crisis

On June 6 through 10, the United States will host the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, with a focus on “building a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future.” The Summit of the Americas is the preeminent gathering of Hemispheric leaders to design regional policy for years to come. Among the most significant policy issues for debate in the Americas is migration. Since its inception in 1994, the Summit of the Americas has been closely tied with the issue of migrant’s rights. In the first Plan of Action, Hemispheric Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and pledged to “guarantee the protection of the human rights of all migrant workers and their families.” While this commitment has been reiterated at subsequent Summits, little has been done to protect and guarantee the human rights of migrants throughout the Americas. 


Large-scale dislocations of people in Central America and Venezuela have brought discussions on migration to the forefront of regional politics. According to data collected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are about six million refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide, making the situation in Venezuela one of the most significant displacement crises in the world. Migration from Central American nations has also increased substantially in recent years. Political turmoil and repression in Nicaragua have caused thousands of people to flee the country, hoping to escape arbitrary arrests and the restriction of fundamental rights. In Haiti, political crises and natural disasters have caused thousands to seek refuge throughout South, Central, and North America. In Ecuador, the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated economic downturn, causing thousands to take perilous journeys to try and reach other countries. Most migrants are fleeing violence, economic downturn, and rising impacts from the climate crisis. The multiple problems accompanying these migration patterns are exacerbated by the weak capacity of governments’ to respond to migrants’ basic needs. 


To address flows northward from the Northern countries of Central America, the Biden Administration has given priority attention to tackling the root causes of migration by fighting poverty, economic inequality, pervasive crime, corruption, and the worsening impacts of climate change. Even under the most optimistic scenario, it will probably take years, if not decades, for this approach to yield concrete results. The Summit of the Americas is an important opportunity for the Biden Administration to propose a set of practical and realistic actions to deal more effectively with a Hemispheric-wide migration challenge. With the Summit fast approaching, the Dialogue is pleased to host the event “Summit of the Americas and Migration: A Human Rights Response to the Regional Migration Crisis” to discuss what concrete actions the hemisphere’s leaders should take to address such a significant challenge facing the Americas. The event will feature Tamara Taraciuk, acting director of the Americas Division at Human Rights Watch, Juan Francisco Sandoval, former head of the special prosecutor’s office against impunity in Guatemala, and Ana Lorena New Delgadillo, founder and executive director of Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho in Mexico. 


Follow the event on Twitter at #MigrationInTheAmericas and @The_Dialogue.

We invite participants to submit questions using the Q&A function in Zoom or email questions to

Please note that this conversation will be held in Spanish. Simultaneous translation in English is available for those who join the event online through the RSVP. 

Opening Remarks: 

Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter)


Tamara Taraciuk

Acting Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch (@TamaraTaraciuk

Juan Francisco Sandoval

Former Head of Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity, Guatemala (@JSandoval1982

Ana Lorena Delgadillo

Founder and Executive Director, Fundación para la Justicia y Estado Democrático de Derecho, (@AnaLorenadp


Santiago Canton 

Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@SantiagoACanton

Concluding  Remarks:

Manuel Orozco 

Director, Migration, Remittances and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@ManuelOrozco65




Watch live here: 

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