Photo: Honduran minors
The U.S. government is considering the possibility of granting refugee status to young Hondurans as one way of stemming the flood of unaccompanied Central American minors streaming across the border from Mexico, officials at the White House said Thursday.
The Obama administration is studying the measure, but no decision has been made on it yet and this option is one of many that are being discussed to cope with the influx, those officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The idea envisions screening young people in Honduras - which has the world’s highest homicide rate - to determine their eligibility for refugee status.
Consideration of the plan was made known one day before the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador meet with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the humanitarian crisis sparked by the arrival in the United States of almost 60,000 unaccompanied and undocumented minors since last October.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the Obama administration is considering allowing thousands of minors and young people to request refugee status in Honduras, a move designed to reduce the huge flow of children from Central America to the United States through Mexico.
The White House officials denied that the administration is close to adopting such a plan.
White House sources said Thursday that the main aim at present is to work with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to transmit the message to the public that sending children to the United States via Mexico is not worth the risk of the journey and does not guarantee that they will be able to remain in the United States.