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Slow-Moving Bureaucracy Keeps Central American Children From Entering U.S. Despite Establishment Of Refugee Program In 2014

by Diana Tomale / Nov 07, 2015 05:11 AM EST
(Photo by: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News) Not a single child from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala has entered the United States through refugee program Central American Minors.

A refugee program called Central American Minors was established in December 2014 after US President Barrack Obama pledged to give Central American children a legal way to enter the United States to rejoin their families.

However, reports have revealed that not a single Central American child has entered the US through the refugee program since it started to accept applicants last year, as forecasted by The New York Times Thursday.

Further reports have revealed that the reason for this is the reportedly slow-moving bureaucracy of America that has angered young children advocates, as well as the families of these children.

The Obama administration decided to come up with such a program after thousands of unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala flock the US last year to run away from street gangs, extortion and sexual attack.

Business Insider noted Thursday that the program aims to offer "a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States," yet, the refugee program is still ineffective until now.

Under the program, "only certain parents who are legally present in the U.S. are eligible to be qualifying parents and file for their children."

It also required that a child should be below 21 years old, unmarried and a resident of Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala to be qualified to enter the US through the Central American Minors program.

According to reports, more than 5,400 children have applied in the refugee program. Only 90 out of these numbers have been interviewed so far by the Department of Homeland Security.

A president and chief executive of a nonprofit organization said that "it's pathetic that no child has come through this program."

"I wonder if it were their child living in the murder capital of the world, whether they would have more sense of urgency," says Lavinia Limón of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

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