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Expert: Confidentiality Agreements in U.S. Migration Program "Unprecedented, Unusual"

October 03, 2023 (1 min read)

Jules Ownby, EL PAÍS USA, Oct. 2, 2023

"Secret offices, weeks of waiting, calls from private numbers and confidentiality agreements. These are some of the features of the new U.S. immigration program known as Movibilidad Segura, or Safe Mobility, which pursues “the expansion of legal routes to the United States or other countries for refugees and migrants in South and Central America,” according to its official website. The United States launched the program in June with the aim of “reducing irregular migration,” and established migration offices in Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. However, three months after its launch, less than 1% of the nearly 29,000 applicants in Colombia have passed through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), according to official data. The lack of information and the secrecy surrounding the project have experts consulted by EL PAÍS perplexed, and tens of thousands of migrants trapped between hope and uncertainty. ... [P]rogram staff clearly stated during interviews that discussing the process publicly could affect the outcome. In fact, many of them explained that they were made to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they “cannot comment on their process.” This is a procedure that Cornell University professor and ... immigration expert Stephen Yale-Loehr terms “unprecedented” and “unusual.” "