- The Obama Administration has expanding the Central American Minors Program to permit more unaccompanied minor “refugees” to enter the United States.
- It now allows siblings, biological parents, and caregivers to enter in with minors into the United States.
- The government wants to help immigrants that are fleeing their country because of violence and gang activity.
It was announced yesterday that the Obama Administration is expanding the program that allows Central Americans to enter the United States as refugees. Their reasoning behind it? They acknowledged the fact that the current system isn’t stopping people from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras from entering the country…their proposed way to fix it? Just let them in.
The Obama Administration is claiming that the expansion will not include all Central Americans trying to gain entry into the United States. They did add an addition to the Central American Minors Program, however. They want to add more protection for “vulnerable” immigrants who need assistance fleeing from their countries while they wait for their refugee processing. Basically, they get to chill out in America while we process their paperwork for them.
Although the number of apprehended immigrant families and unaccompanied minors had dropped in 2015, they have risen again this year.
Amy Pope, the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor said, “What we have seen is that our current efforts to date have been insufficient to address the number of people who may have legitimate refugee claims and there are insufficient pathways for those people to present their claims for adjudication.”
The Central American Minors Progam initially stated that citizens of the United States and or the immigrants that are legal present in The States could apply for their unmarried children (under 21) to join them. Yet, the program was originally for minors located in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala.
In the beginning, the program had a slow start. Immigrant families claimed that they still had to pay smugglers to get their children into the country because the wait time for the program was so long. Yet now, officials have claimed that over 270 people have been resettled in the United States through the program.
The program is now expanded to siblings, biological parents, and caregivers, as long as they are accompanying a minor into The States.
The number of applications that the U.S. Government gets for this program is astounding. Officials have stated that they have received around 9,500 applications. They have screened more than 6,800 applicants. The Department of Homeland Security has finished about 2,900 final interviews. With 2,880 people being approved to resettle in the United States.
The President of Costa Rica has agreed to help the United States by hosting up to 200 people from the three countries mentioned in the program (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) while they are filed through the program.
Bill Frelick, the Refugee Rights Program Director at Human Rights Watch, said in an interview, “The basic contradiction at the heart of the [Central American Minors] program has been the requirement that children who are under threat for their lives are required to remain in the country for the lengthy period of time that it takes to process resettlement claims.”
He claims that eligibility within the program is still too narrow for the growing problem, but did admit that the expansion is a positive step forward.
Representative Zoe Lofgren (Democrat – from California) introduced a bill this month, which was brought to the Senate by Minority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat – Nevada), that would force the programs process to be quickened. It basically required the Department of Homeland Security to make decisions on applications within 180 days of receiving them.
Republicans, of course, are condemning the bill and the expansion of the program. They are stating that there is no possible way to “screen” every incoming refugee which heightens risk for terrorists to enter the United States as refugees.
Welcome to the United States of Refugee America.