The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) welcomes the announcement by the U.S. State Department on initiatives to address the humanitarian situation in Central America. The expansion of the Central America Minors (CAM) program will help families stay together, staying true to our American values. Today’s announcement also provided long-awaited details regarding the in-country referral program the White House announced in January 2016, to help Central Americans obtain refugee protection in the U.S. These programs give hope to refugees of legally finding safety in the U.S., and take a positive step forward in protecting vulnerable people.
“In the course of our work of over a decade serving unaccompanied children from Central America we have heard story after story of the threats, violence, rape and murder of children who refuse to join or cooperate with the criminal gangs. Our concerns for the protection needs of Central American minors led USCRI to open an office in El Salvador to help the children find safety and build a future at home,” said Lavinia Limón,” President/CEO of USCRI.
“These programs will only work if the process moves quickly. We are extremely concerned about delays because we have seen firsthand the urgent needs of many Central Americans for life saving protection” said Limón.
There are pending applications for over 9,000 children but in the two years since the inception of the program, only 368 Central American youth have arrived in the U.S.
“USCRI looks forward to working with the U.S. government, International Office for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure refugee rights are protected including the right to work, to education and to freedom of movement. We look forward to assisting eligible Central Americans to begin new lives in freedom and peace.” said Limón.
To learn more about USCRI’s office in El Salvador helping repatriated unaccompanied immigrant children click here