Washington D.C., Nov 11, 2017 / 06:04 am America/Denver (CNA).
The Trump administration's ending of a program that helped reunite Central American minors with their parents in the U.S. has drawn strong objections from the U.S. bishops.
The administration decided to end refugee processing in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala for those who apply for U.S. entry through the Central American Minors program. The program had allowed some parents legally present in the U.S. to request a refugee resettlement interview for their children and other family members like the child’s other parent, a caregiver, or a grandchild, ABC News reports.
“This decision of the administration unnecessarily casts aside a proven and safe alternative to irregular and dangerous migration for Central American children,” said Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration. Terminating the entire program will “neither promote safety for these children nor help our government regulate migration,” he said Nov. 9.
“Pope Francis has called on us to protect migrant children, noting that ‘among migrants, children constitute the most vulnerable group’,” the bishop continued.
The Central American Minors program was established in 2014, at the height of the surge of unaccompanied migrant children coming to the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America, primarily El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.