President Donald Trump's administration is ending a program that allowed children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to apply for refugee status in the United States before leaving home.
The administration will phase out the Central American Minors (CAM) program during the fiscal year 2018, according to a report provided to Congress and obtained by Reuters. That report also sets the overall refugee cap for the year at its lowest level in decades.
The CAM program started at the end of 2014 under the administration of former President Barack Obama as a response to tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum in the United States.
Dangerous trip avoided
The program allowed vulnerable young people with parents in the United States to process their applications in their home region and avoid making the dangerous trip through Mexico to the U.S. border on their own, said Karen Musalo, the director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California-Hastings.
“I think there is very little interest in understanding on the part of this administration as to who are refugees and our country's commitment to protecting people fleeing persecution,” Musalo said.
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