Media CenterCRS Applauds the Expansion of the Central American Refugee Resettlement Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jossie Flor Sapunar
Catholic Relief Services
Timely Processing in Costa Rica and US is Urgent Matter, says International Development Organization
BALTIMORE, MD, July 28, 2016 – On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced an expansion of its Central American refugee program. In response, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) issued the following statement:
CRS has long advocated for the protection of children and young adults fleeing deadly violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and lauds the Administration’s decision. We are relieved that the current program, which has sent too many children back to their possible deaths, will now increase the number of individuals granted humanitarian protection.
In addition, CRS applauds the expansion of the program to family members. As the Church has long taught, the family is the core unit of any society. We are pleased that qualifying family members can be granted protection because family unity increases children’s chances of safety and success.
While the plan to use Costa Rica as a safe space for processing of asylum-seekers – through coordination with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – is an important measure for protection, timely processing will be necessary both for individuals already in Costa Rica and for those who might be in danger in their host countries as they wait for space to open up in the Costa Rica center. We urge that processing be swift and that staffing meet demand.
If we in the United States are to live up to our call to other nations to meet refugee needs around the world, we must scale up the overall comprehensive refugee protection and durable solution system in the region. A strengthened, comprehensive system would include:
- Increased capacity of all the countries in the region to provide asylum and child protection.
- Integrated refugee and child protection mechanisms at borders or other points of enforcement to assure that refugees and at-risk children are identified, are not returned to persecution and are given protection and support.
- Support of host countries in the region by the United States and international community to help them assure the ongoing well-being of refugees – adults and children – as durable solutions are pursued.
- Temporary protected status for Central American children and their families present in the United States now.
Though these actions by the Administration will not completely solve the crisis in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, they are positive steps in the right direction.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.