After the meeting, the White House announced that the State Department would send more than $12 million through international partners to Costa Rica to help the nation address migration. The administration also plans to send Costa Rica up to $24 million to improve policing and expand crime prevention programs.
Costa Rica recently agreed to build two centers where migrants can be processed for such legal protections without crossing the border. About 38,000 migrants from Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala have registered for legal protection through the program. More than 2,000 of those applicants have been referred to the U.S. refugee program.
Mr. Chaves is hoping the sites will relieve pressure on his nation’s asylum system as well. Costa Rica, a popular tourist destination, has struggled to handle the number of migrants fleeing violence in Nicaragua and Venezuela.
More than 270,000 migrants were in Costa Rica seeking protection by the end of 2022, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As the nation struggled with the surge, Mr. Chaves enacted various restrictions on the nation’s asylum system, including a 30-day time limit for migrants to apply for asylum as well as stringent rules for issuing work permits.
The number of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border increased in July after a sharp drop the previous month. The more than 99,500 crossings in June was a 42 percent drop from May, which the Biden administration attributed to a new asylum rule that set a higher bar for a migrant to be eligible to apply for asylum in the United States. Crossings, however, increased to more than 132,000 in July.