Following months of advocacy efforts from Church World Service and partners to bring attention to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Central America, the Department of Homeland Security announced the expansion of programs to protect minors and individuals fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. As an international organization committed to advocating with those fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle and around the world, CWS released the following statement supporting the expansion.
“For years, we have seen an alarming increase in violence, persecution and unrest in the Northern Triangle, forcing many to flee their homes and seek safety in nearby countries. However, despite their asylum claims, many have been tragically denied safety in neighboring countries due to a lack of access to protection and regional processing,” said Erol Kekic, Executive Director of the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program. “Thanks to Costa Rica’s leadership and the U.S. government’s partnership with the international community, some families and individuals will now have access to emergency processing and screening programs that help them seek the protection they need.”
The announcement also unveiled the expansion of the Central American Minors Affidavit of Relationship program, which provides children in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador the opportunity to reunite with a parent who is lawfully present in the United States.
“Though this is a welcomed first step, we continue to urge President Obama to immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to individuals from the Northern Triangle and to ensure access to timely and fair asylum processes in the United States,” Kekic continued.
To see the full details of the programs, please see the full statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants, and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty.