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A young Honduran immigrant during a news conference about conditions for Central American immigrants, Washington, May 18, 2016 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

Is a U.S. Move to Accept More Central American Refugees Too Little, Too Late?

Friday, July 29, 2016

On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that it would admit more migrants from Central America into the United States as refugees, expanding a program that observers have criticized as inadequate in the face of an exodus of people, many of them unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras over the past two years. Under the program to date, unaccompanied Central American children seeking to reunite with their families living in the United States have been allowed to apply for refugee status; since it came into effect in 2014, the program has received some 9,500 applications.

With its expansion, children’s families will now be allowed to apply for refugee status, too, including their parents, siblings and relatives who are “caregivers.” Administration officials said that they hoped that opening a wider legal path for refugees into the country would dissuade Central Americans from making the dangerous journey north to the U.S.-Mexican border. ...

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