ome leading members of the U.S. Congress are calling on the Obama administration to consider launching an emergency refugee program for Central American children as one way to address a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis at the southern border with Mexico.
Tens of thousands of children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are showing up illegally, often without any parents or relatives, at the Texas border. Their numbers could reach 90,000 this year and grow to 150,000 next year – up from only about 6,000 in 2011, according to government estimates.
After making the dangerous journey with the help of human and drug traffickers who prey upon them, this rush of children and teenagers are straining U.S. resources, from temporary shelters to immigration courts.
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, told Reuters on Thursday that establishing refugee application programs in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where domestic abuse, gang violence and poverty are rampant, is the “key” to defusing the growing U.S. border crisis.