WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States will allow some Central American children to apply for refugee status from their home countries, as Washington seeks to stem a large, clandestine influx of minors, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday.
The programme, which begins in early December, only applies to children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras with at least one parent who is a legal resident of the United States.
“It provides those seeking asylum a right way to come to our country, as opposed to crossing the border illegally,” Biden said at a Central American conference at the Inter-American Development Bank.
The children, who must be single and under the age of 21, must first pass through a strict interview process in their home country and meet several other requirements in order to join their family in America.
“The refugee/parole programme will not be a pathway for undocumented parents to bring their children to the United States, but instead, the programme will provide certain vulnerable, at-risk children an opportunity to be reunited with parents lawfully resident in the United States,” according to official guidelines.