The following explains the U.S. national statement on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.

The United States and countries as diverse as Australia, the Dominican Republic and Hungary oppose a U.N. proposal recently adopted by many countries called the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”

Regardless of who occupies the White House or which party controls Congress, the United States and its elected officials have always maintained that every nation has the sovereign right to control its borders; enact immigration laws and policies that protect and advance the economic and social interests of its citizens; and determine who may enter the country, how long they may stay and the types of activities they can undertake.

Lawful and orderly immigration benefits nations, citizens and immigrants alike. The illegal movement of people across international borders presents security risks to citizens, renders immigrants vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and reduces citizens’ faith in the ability of government to secure their borders. These challenges further undermine the credibility of government leaders and their ability to consider and adopt new forms of immigration policy.

Countries and advocates of the Compact have all but acknowledged publicly that they intend to use the Compact to begin the process of promoting the “global governance” of migration. This would, over the long-term, subvert the ability of the United States and other sovereign nations to take actions — deemed appropriate by their respective peoples — to determine and enact their immigration laws and policies free from international review by officials and agencies not accountable to citizens. The U.S. government says in its national statement on the Compact: “While the United States honors the contributions of the many immigrants who helped build our nation, we cannot support a ‘Compact’ or process that imposes or has the potential to impose international guidelines, standards, expectations, or commitments that might constrain our ability to make decisions in the best interests of our nation and citizens.”

The importance of sovereignty

For the United States and other nations around the world, the concept of sovereignty, or the notion that the citizens of each nation have the sole and final authority to control their nation’s political and legal affairs, is foundational and unassailable. Immigration is one issue that is squarely within the authority of sovereign governments to decide. The international community, through the Compact, takes positions on immigration and related issues that run counter to the interests of the United States and other nations. The requirements of the Compact run contrary to the sovereign abilities of all nations to determine what immigration laws and policies work best for them and their citizens.

The backside of two people taking an oath in front of an American flag (© Jae C. Hong/AP Images)
(© Jae C. Hong/AP Images)

A lawful, orderly and generous immigration system

The United States remains the world leader when it comes to lawful and orderly immigration.

Each year, the United States embraces hundreds of thousands of foreign-born individuals into the American family as naturalized citizens, and tens of thousands more as permanent legal residents, asylum seekers and refugees. The sum total of admissions across these different categories, coupled with the United States’ openness to people of all races, ethnicities and religions, makes the U.S. the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration. The United States remains a beacon to the free and unfree peoples the world over, and this is because of an unwavering commitment to sovereign governance and the rule of law.

Recent Department of Homeland Security statistics are noteworthy:

  • So far in 2018, the United States has naturalized more than 750,000 new citizens, the highest number since 2013.
  • In 2017 (the latest year for which there is data), the U.S. granted refugee or asylum status to over 80,000 individuals seeking protection from persecution, and since 1975, the U.S. has resettled over 3 million refugees in the U.S.
  • While law enforcement officials worked to secure America’s borders, they also rescued 4,311 individuals last year who attempted to enter the country illegally but who found themselves abandoned by smugglers or overmatched by terrain or the elements.

The United States has a longstanding record as the most generous nation in the world for protection-­based immigration and assistance, and it will continue to hold that position.