The United States has taken measures throughout 2016 to address humanitarian challenges in Central America, a White House spokesperson said Tuesday.
A series of initiatives have been undertaken by the White House to help vulnerable individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras immigrate to the United States, while promoting safe migration and border security. The U.S. government will ensure safety by pre-screening applicants, via coordination with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Organization for Migration. After pre-screening, the applicants most in need will be transferred to Costa Rica, and will undergo refugee processing before being resettled in the U.S.
The White House praised Costa Rica’s “consistent leadership” on human rights.
The United States will also expand its Central American Minors program, which provides children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with a safer journey to the U.S. Over 9,500 individuals have applied for the program.
“As the United States has made clear in the past, we are committed to protecting Central Americans at risk and expanding resettlement opportunities in the region,” the White House said in a statement. “The steps taken today, and over the past year, are another example of the creative solutions being taken across the federal government to make progress on this issue.”
The White House acknowledged that, “Today’s actions will not solve this challenge alone, but are steps in the right direction and are a further example of the United States’ continued commitment to this ongoing situation.”