On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced its intention to come up with ways to stem the illegal entry of immigrants into the United States from Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Costa Rica says it will help to deal with the immigration issue in the region by agreeing to offer temporary refuge to undocumented immigrants needing immediate protection, along with the International Organization for Migration, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the United States.
People seeking protection will be pre-screened by the Department of Homeland Security and then transferred to Costa Rica for the purposes of processing before they are resettled, either in the United States or a different country. Under the program, Costa Rica will be able to hold as many as 200 people at any one time for six-month periods.
President Barack Obama’s administration has also announced that the Central American Minors program, which gives qualified youngsters under the age of 21 a method of legally, orderly and safely reaching the United States, will be expanded. The program, which enables parents with legal US residency to apply for refugee status for youngsters that are still living in El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala, is currently reviewing over 9,500 applications.
Referral programs are also being created for those immigrants not in immediate need of refuge. These immigrants will have their request for refugee protection status in the United States considered after Homeland Security officials have screened them while they are still in their home nations.