The US and Mexico pursuing asylum changes

With the ongoing refugee crisis taking place at their doorstep, last week Mexico and the United States agreed to consider strategies other than detention programs and to improve the access to asylum for the thousands of immigrants from Central America, fleeing violence in their own countries.

Both countries agreed to the commitments in a meeting hosted by the refugee agency of the United Nations. The intention is to try and ease the current problems in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, which have some of the highest murder and violence rates in the world, resulting in thousands of immigrants fleeing Central America and heading for, among other places, the southern border of the United States.

The crisis has captured the attention of President Barack Obama and Congress, and the new proposal will result in the creation of a monitoring system to analyze displacement patterns. Asylum countries such as the United States have agreed to ensure the identification and documentation of people requiring international protection, particularly in border areas, in a timely fashion. The United Nations wants an extra $23.5 million to establish Central American offices to track the situation.

The assistant high commissioner for refugees at the United Nations, Volker Turk, says that not enough attention has been paid to the situation in the Northern Triangle, which has been going on for the last few years. The meeting comes six months after the announcement that the US Refugee Admissions Program would be expanded.