Tuesday, August 2, 2016

U.S. expands Central American refugee screening program

by Patricia Zengerle and Julia Edwards
MSN July 27, 2016

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration announced a broad expansion on Tuesday of a program to let people fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras enter the United States as refugees, and said Costa Rica agreed to temporarily shelter some of those with no other recourse.
Under the plan, Costa Rica will host up to 200 applicants at a time while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security evaluates them for possible resettlement, a process that could take up to six months.
The United States will also expand a program for child refugees and allow some people to apply for refugee status in their home country, according to several administration officials who spoke to reporters by telephone.
The steps are modest in comparison to plans announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in January to open several refugee processing centers in the region. Many details about the program, including how it would be financed or how many people might be eligible, were unavailable.
Rights advocates said they were pleased the administration was providing the migrants, especially children, with an alternative to remaining at home where their lives are at risk or relying on smugglers for the long journey across Mexico.
"It's really the way the program should have been established from the start, but even belatedly we're happy to see that this is the direction that they're taking it," said Bill Frelick, director of the refugee rights program at Human Rights Watch.
Since October, nearly 80,000 children and families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been apprehended at the U.S. border with Mexico. The crisis has fueled heated debate on the campaign trail over whether to welcome migrants fleeing violence or build a wall to keep them out, a centerpiece of Republican Donald Trump's campaign for president.
The plan met some resistance in the region. For example, Guatemalan government officials rejected the description of those seeking to leave the country as refugees.
EXPANDING EXISTING PROGRAM
The U.S. officials said Washington would expand its Central American Minors program, which allows children under 21 with at least one parent in the United States legally to apply for refugee status. The program will now allow a child's sibling, care giver or another parent to seek refugee status.
Only 267 minors have entered the United States since the program began in December 2014. Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said 2,880 applicants have been approved and are awaiting resettlement.
The New York Times reported in January that the United States planned to admit up to 9,000 Central American refugees. Under the agreement, Costa Rica will only take in those deemed too vulnerable to remain in their homelands.
Costa Rican Minister of the Presidency Sergio Alfaro told a news conference in San Jose the government reserved the "explicit right" to ask for more information if there were doubts about those granted the six-month humanitarian visas.
Carlos Maldonado of the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration would handle costs incurred as applicants were processed in Costa Rica.
"They will be subject to a process of preparation and cultural instruction about the country they are going to," Maldonado said. That most likely would be the United States, but could be Canada, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay.
Convincing countries to host a center has been difficult amid concerns that slow processing would lead to a backlog of people with nowhere to go, a Homeland Security source said.
"We're expanding significantly the foundation of the refugee program. These programs most often take time to build traction, credibility in the countries at issue," Mayorkas said.
Nearly 8,000 Cubans migrating to the United States were stuck in Costa Rica recently when neighboring Nicaragua closed its border.

Costa Rica's location is also a challenge. Salvadorans, Hondurans and Guatemalans seeking to move north to the United States must travel south, across Nicaragua, to get there.


Comment:

We can expect even more of this if Shrillary wins in November.  Trump may or may not be able to do something about this problem but I doubt he will do anything to make it worse.

As you read, it's not just the Mexicans that are the illegals.  Mexicans make up the bulk of them, but it's not right to say all illegals are Mexican.

But regardless of where they come from, Mexico or Central America, we are being invaded.  And what's really galling is they are getting so bold that they will even admit to the authorities that they came here because of lax immigration enforcement.

As far as the illegals are concerned, we are a bunch of suckers.  At this point in time, most Americans are.  That's why we have to sink their gravy boat NOW, before the rest of us are pulled down with it.

Dan 88!

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