According to Niki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, “While the US is proud of its leadership on migration and refugee issues, the global approach is not compatible with the nation’s sovereignty.” She said that Trump made the decision, and emphasized that Americans should determine their own policies on immigration. “Our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone. We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country,” she says.
Public Services International (PSI) and its US affiliates denounce such a shameful and callous decision.
In 2016, in response to the humanitarian crisis resulting from conflicts and instability in Africa and the war in Syria, the United Nations convened a High-Level Summit on Large Flows of Migrants and Refugees. The summit came up with the New York Declaration for Migrants and Refugees, committing UN Member States to adopt a Global Compact on Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees by 2018.
“The Compacts represent the global commitment to alleviate human suffering and to save lives of migrants and refugees taking dangerous routes to seek protection and to find work,” says Rosa Pavanelli, Public Services International General Secretary. “What we have right now are 65.6 million people forcibly displaced by conflicts, violence and human rights violations. The numbers are increasing, with more than half being displaced are children, and about half are female,” says Pavanelli.
“This is about fundamental human rights and UN Member States’ obligation to uphold these rights. While States have sovereignty over their borders, they also have the sovereign right to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. We cannot allow a powerful and rich country such as the US to turn its back on human rights and humanitarian obligations. It is completely shameful,” says Pavanelli.
In an issued statement, the President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, regretted the US decision, and reminds that no one nation can manage international migration alone.
PSI affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) President Randi Weingarten says, “The withdrawal of the United States from the negotiations over the United Nations Global Compact on Migration—a forum designed to bring the world together to protect the rights of refugees and migrants—is cruel and counterproductive. The Trump administration’s decision to abandon those seeking a better life, to score narrow political points, disserves America and our legacy as a nation of immigrants. Further, it is counterproductive, as refugee and migration issues will still be addressed globally but without America’s ingenuity or leadership in exchanging ideas and forging rational, coordinated responses. We must invest our time and effort in collective solutions, not blindside our friends and allies at the first sign of stress.”
“The migration compact negotiations should proceed with or without the participation of the United States. The AFT will continue to urge that our government take a more responsible approach to our shared future,” adds Weingarten.
Another PSI affiliate, the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry says, “This decision is yet another callous and cruel act by the Trump Administration that undermines our historic commitment to human rights and devalues immigrants and their families, diminishing the American Dream.”
PSI, together with other Global Union Federations, participates in the processes around the Global Compacts. Between February and July 2018, States will negotiate the text of the Global Compact on Migration in UN New York.