A new Obama administration program would give refugee status to a limited number of minors from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who are the “child relatives” of legal immigrants living in the United States. It would not affect minors who want to join their illegally-present parents in the United States or minors who have already entered the country illegally.
The program would allow legal immigrants from the three countries to request that child relatives still in those countries be allowed to enter the U.S. as refugees. The Administration says the program would give minors a legal alternative for joining family and prevent them from crossing the border illegally, as have tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children. It is unlikely to influence those wanting to cross the border illegally, however, to join their illegal-alien parents.
The Administration authorized a total of 70,000 refugees in 2015 from Africa, East Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Near East and South Asia. 4,000 are set aside for refugees from Central and South American and Caribbean nations, so the minors qualifying under the new program would have to compete for these slots. The Administration also will allow minors under similar circumstances from Cuba, Iraq, Eurasia and the Baltics to apply for refugee status.
Read more from the Associated Press.