Municipal Finance Press Release

At Inaugural ‘Cities Summit of the Americas,’ Mayors From Across the Hemisphere Commit to Building Welcoming Communities for Migrants, Call on National Governments to Step Up

Secretary of State Blinken, CO Senator Hickenlooper joined mayors from across the region to advance a more collaborative approach to migration

DENVER (April 28, 2023)—This week, the Mayors Migration Council brought together mayors from across the Americas to participate in the first-ever Cities Summit of the Americas in Denver, Colorado. The Summit, hosted by the Biden Administration with events co-hosted by the Mayors Migration Council, focused on city-led solutions to migrant and refugee inclusion, as well as other pressing topics for cities. 

“Across the globe, migrants and refugees are moving to cities in pursuit of employment and a safe home. Today, mayors discussed migration not as a crisis to be solved but as an opportunity to elevate the economic, civic, and cultural life of their cities,” said Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director of the Mayors Migration Council. “Despite cities’ proven success in working with and welcoming migrants, securing financing is a major barrier to city action. And too often, mayors have been sidelined in national and international policy discussions. The Summit shows that mayors and local leaders are essential partners to advance progress in cities around the world.”

At the Summit, the Mayors Migration Council and mayors from across the Americas signed the “Denver Declaration on City Priorities for Regional Cooperation,” furthering these commitments and identifying specific priorities for individual and collective action. The declaration includes a commitment from the mayors to “building communities of belonging, where migrants find safety, welcome, and pathways for full social and economic inclusion.” The declaration also includes a call for national governments “to establish a regular platform for communication with one another, with cities, and with communities of origin, transit, and destination.”

At the closing plenary, Mayor Jaime Pumarejo of Barranquilla, Colombia, a member of the Mayors Migration Council coalition, also explained his approach and insight to migration issues: “In Barranquilla, we are only 200 miles from Venezuela and the Darien Gap, where thousands of migrants pass through or settle. Our community and local government know that welcoming these migrants is also an economic opportunity for our residents. By identifying and providing jobs for migrants, for example, we bolster economic growth and support local businesses. Scaling similar programs requires more direct funding.”

The closing plenary, which featured a keynote address from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was co-hosted by the Mayors Migration Council along with the Emerson Collective, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and The InterAmerican Dialogue, brought together mayors and city leaders from Seattle, Washington, to Travis County, Texas, to Barranquilla, Colombia, to Upala, Costa Rica and more. Local leaders shared good practices and considered what deeper collaboration among cities on migration issues could look like, while urging further funding for solutions.

The Mayors Migration Council also co-hosted a private roundtable on climate and migration in partnership with the U.S. State Department, USAID, C40 Cities, and the Climate Migration Council, which included mayors from across the region, including Mayor Kate Gallego from Phoenix, AZ; Mayor Jaime Pumarejo from Barranquilla, Colombia; Mayor Joel Martínez from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Mayor Maribel Escobar from La Palma, El Salvador. 

The Summit comes on the heels of an immigration plan introduced last week by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that urges the Biden Administration to support increased private and public sector funding for cities in the Americas.


The Mayors Migration Council (MMC) is a mayor-led coalition that accelerates ambitious global action on migration and displacement. With most of the world’s migrants and displaced people living in cities, our mission is to use the power of city diplomacy and city practice to create a world where urban migrants, displaced people, and receiving communities can thrive. 

Created by mayors for mayors, we are a nimble team of political advisors and urban practitioners guided by a Leadership Board of global city leaders, including the Mayors of Amman, Bristol, Dhaka North, Freetown, Kampala, Milan, Montevideo, Montréal, and Zürich. As a Sponsored Project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, our work is made possible by philanthropic and government funders.


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