Biden unveils migration plan at US-hosted Summit

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Biden unveils migration plan at US-hosted Summit

Biden's aides had touted the migration declaration as a centerpiece of the US-hosted Summit of the Americas, and 20 countries joined him for a ceremonial unveiling of the plan, though several others stayed away.

The White House promoted a series of migrant programs agreed by countries across the hemisphere and Spain, as an observer, which pledged a more cooperative approach. Some policy analysts are skeptical that pledges are meaningful enough to make a significant difference.

READ MORE: Biden rebuked over guest list at the Americas summit he is hosting.

The United States and Canada have pledged to take in more guest laborers, provide pathways for people from poorer countries to work in richer countries, and other countries agreeing to greater protections for migrants. According to a White House statement, Mexico agreed to accept more Central American workers.

The flags of 20 countries, several more than the number attending the summit in all, festooned the stage where Biden led the roll out. After days of US pressure, that number was only achieved.

It was another sign of tensions that have marred the summit, undermining Biden's efforts to reassert US leadership.

The Biden administration, facing a record flow of illegal migrants at its southern border, pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Venezuelan migrants across the region, renewed family-based visas for Cubans and Haitians and eased the hiring of Central American workers.

The announcements are part of a US-led pact called the Los Angeles Declaration and is intended to spread responsibility across the region to deal with the migration problem.

ALSO READ: Americas summit: US to push new economy, migration agenda.

A new economic partnership that appears to be a work in progress is one of the goals of the plan, which is to re-establish US influence among its southern neighbors.

At the summit's opening on Thursday, leaders from Argentina and tiny Belize rebuked Biden face-to-face over the guest list, underscoring the challenge that the global superpower faces in restoring its influence among poorer neighbors.

On Friday, Chile, Bolivia, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda joined the criticism, though Biden was not present. "We can't have exclusions," said the new Chilean leftist President Gabriel Boric.

The summit sessions this week rang out to the US composer John Philip Sousa's The Liberty Bell march, a tune popularized by the classic British comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus.