The U.S. pulled out of a global pact on migration and refugees Saturday, informing the United Nations that it will make decisions independently about who is allowed to come to the U.S.
The U.S. will no longer participate in the Global Compact on Migration, a result of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was unanimously adopted last year as a non-binding agreement to protect the rights of refugees, help them resettle, and facilitate access to education and employment, according to Voice of America.
President Donald Trump’s administration has expressed concerns, suggesting that the accord poses a threat to U.S. national security. “Our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Saturday. “We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asserted Sunday that the original agreement was based on a declaration that “contains a number of policy goals that are inconsistent with U.S. law and policy,” adding, “We simply cannot in good faith support a process that could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders.”
“The United States supports international cooperation on migration issues, but it is the primary responsibility of sovereign states to help ensure that migration is safe, orderly, and legal,” he further explained.
U.N. General Assembly president Miroslav Lajčák expressed regret, arguing that the U.S., as home to largest number of migrants, has the experience and expertise to lead on these issues.
The withdrawal comes just days before the start of a global conference on migration in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Trump has reportedly decided to boycott the talks, according to Foreign Policy.
The Trump administration has emphasized the importance of sovereignty, national security, and immigration control from the beginning, downplaying the role of large international agreements and institutions.