Explanation of Position on a Second Committee Resolution on International Migration and Development

Jason Lawrence
U.S. Adviser to the Second Committee
New York, New York
November 21, 2022


Thank you, Madam Chair.

On behalf of the U.S. government, I would like to extend our thanks to the facilitator for the successful shepherding of this resolution. We are pleased to join consensus on this resolution.

The United States supports fair, orderly, and humane immigration systems with appropriate legal and procedural protections that are respected for all migrants, and with particular safeguards for the most vulnerable, including migrant children.

In joining consensus on this resolution, we would like to clarify our views on several elements of this text. The United States noted its understanding of the International Migration Review Forum Progress Declaration in May 2022 and, as several paragraphs in this resolution are drawn from the Progress Declaration, we reiterate our understanding of such language here. In December 2021 the United States issued a Revised National Statement on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), reflecting certain clarifications and limitations. That statement remains our position on the references to the GCM in this resolution. At the same time, we reiterate our endorsement of the vision contained in the GCM and our commitment to work with other countries to enhance cooperation to manage migration in ways that are grounded in human rights, transparency, non-discrimination, responsibility-sharing, and State sovereignty.

We underscore that the GCM is an aspirational document that does not create or change rights or obligations under international or domestic law. The same is true for this resolution, which outlines non-legally binding political commitments that the United States aspires to achieve, to the extent consistent with our domestic law and particular international obligations. For example, the United States stands committed to working to eliminate acts of discrimination and hate crimes against migrants and to countering other expressions of racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance, in a manner consistent with the U.S. Constitution and our international obligations regarding freedom of opinion and expression.

We interpret references to due process and other protections, including for migrants in U.S. government custody and in the context of returns and removals, to be consistent with our international legal obligations and U.S. law and practice. We understand the Declaration’s abbreviated references to certain human rights, such as the “right to family life” to be shorthand for the more accurate terms used in the applicable treaties. We maintain our longstanding positions on specific rights and on the territorial scope of our obligations under the treaties to which we are party, as further elaborated in our December 2021 National Statement.

We further recognize that neither this resolution nor the Progress Declaration requires States to implement provisions of international instruments to which they are not a party. We reiterate our long-standing concern with equating speech and ideas with violence, noting that harassment, while condemnable, does not necessarily constitute violence. For U.S. views on other issues present in this resolution, including the right to development, etc., see the U.S. general statement delivered earlier this afternoon.