Thursday, April 30, 2015

US Program to Resettle Central American Minors Likely to Help Few

By David L. Wilson and Jane Guskin, Truthout
April 30, 2015

Central American children are back in the news. The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border was up again in March, although it was still only half the figure recorded in March 2014. Parents and young children continue to be held in immigration detention centers, leading to protests like a five-day hunger strike at the Karnes, Texas, facility in early April. And Republican politicians and ultraconservative media are once again complaining that President Obama is being soft on undocumented children fleeing violence in Central America.

The right's latest target is a program the Obama administration announced last fall under which some Central American immigrant parents can apply to have children still living in their home country declared refugees and reunited with their families here. According to the US State Department, which administers the program, the goal is "to provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States."

"This is in complete violation of what the Constitution says," Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) announced on April 23 as he prepared to deliver a letter co-signed by 36 representatives demanding an end to the program. A Senate judiciary subcommittee held a hearing that day to discuss the policy, which subcommittee chair Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) claimed had "created a dangerous situation."

The legislators' concerns seem exaggerated.[...]

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