The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Waiting for Refuge
Unchecked gang violence, sexual and gender-based violence, and increasing militarization have eroded the rule of law in Central America’s Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), resulting in an ongoing exodus of refugees fleeing unrelenting danger.
The Obama administration created a limited refugee resettlement program in 2014 allowing some children from the region to apply for refugee protections and be reunited with a parent who is a legal resident in the United States. This Central American Minors In-Country Refugee Processing Program (CAM) was touted as saving children the dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, and allowed them to seek asylum at the U.S. border.
“I am afraid to leave the house now because gang members meet outside my house … My family and I are in danger … if we do not give the [bribe] they are going to kill one of us … you cannot live in peace.” – CAM applicant
After a year of research in collaboration with grassroots partners, UUSC released this report with recommendations for how to make CAM even more effective, including testimonies from CAM participants about the need for this life saving pathway to safety. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has gone in the opposite direction, canceling the program and leaving children more vulnerable.