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Central America, Mexico, US hold talks on migration

media Cuban migrants wait to depart from Panama City to Ciudad Juarez, in northern Mexico along the US border, on May 10, 2016 AFP/File

The United States, Mexico and Central American nations began talks on Tuesday in Honduras' capital on a shared action plan to tackle a wave of migration, much of it from Cuba and African countries.

The 200 delegates gathering for three days were to look at protecting human rights, the trend of unaccompanied migrant children, and breaking apart human smuggling rings, the head of Honduras' migration agency, Carolina Menjivar, told AFP.

The United States is the magnet for most of the migrants.

Cubans able to get to US land borders have near-automatic entry into America under a Cold War-era law.

But undocumented Central Americans -- especially from the violence- and poverty-plagued Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- and Africans are also trying in their thousands each year to get into the United States.

The principal land route migrants set out on is through Central America, across Mexico and then into the southern US states.

But that trek has become more problematic since late last year, with Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama all trying to prevent Cubans without visas from entering their territories.

The countries represented at the Honduras conference are Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

The International Organization for Migration and UN agencies were participating as observers.

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