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Greek-American dialogue and cooperation on migration

The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Dimitris Kairidis, met in Washington, D.C., with the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, Julieta Valls Noyes, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Border & Immigration at the Department of Homeland Security, Adam Hunter.

Mr.Kairidis discussed US immigration policy and the common challenges faced by the US and Europe with respect to both illegal and legal migration.

The US received around three million illegal arrivals last year, around 10 times more than the EU.

It was agreed that migrant smuggling is a global phenomenon, that the presence of irregular migrants from Latin America in Europe and from Sub-Saharan Africa in the US proves their interconnectedness and that there is a need for closer trans-Atlantic cooperation between the US and the EU.

An ongoing dialogue between the two countries was established and Greece’s participation in a number of US programs and funding opportunities, which already engage other European countries, was explored

It is worth noting that while in Greece the average processing time for an asylum application is a few weeks, in the US it can take from 5 to 8 years.

Recently, Greece attained a broad bipartisan consensus that opened a legal pathway for "undocumented" immigrants who have been living and working in the country for years- something that the US has been trying to accomplish for four decades.

Both American counterparts and, in particular, the US Deputy Secretary of State, who knows Greece well, expressed their admiration for these accomplishments and congratulated the Greek government for its immigration policy, which combats illegal immigration while simultaneously creating legal alternatives.

In particular, when it comes to combating smuggling, Greece’s strategy combines strict border protection with the humanitarian treatment of asylum seekers and respect for international law.

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