Some Honduran youth may be classified as refugees by the Obama administration. In order to deal with the surge of illegal Central American immigrants crossing the border illegally, the Obama administration is considering classifying some of them as refugees. According to the New York Times, some federal agencies are working on proposals that would help them identify youth who may be classified as refugees.
Many Honduran children are fleeing dangerous street gangs that recruit people and extort business and home owners. According to the United Nations, more than 70,000 such street gang members operate in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
According to the proposals, Honduran youth would be interviewed by immigration authorities and a refugee resettlement center would be set up for them. It is expected that around 5,000 youth would apply for refugee status and around 35 to 50 percent of the applicants would be granted refugee status.
This program would be open to youth below age 21. The administration is also likely to grant humanitarian parole to those who do not meet the requirements for refugee status. If the Honduran proposal is successful, the plan would be implemented in El Salvador and Guatemala.
In general, the U.S. grants refugee status to those who flee their countries due to fears of persecution on account of race, religion, membership in particular social groups or political opinions. Some say that people fleeing general violence cannot be granted refugee status in the U.S. However, there are some who say that these children would fit into the “social group” category and that they can be granted refugee status in the country. It is still unclear what status would be granted to the children and families from these nations who have already entered into the U.S., if the proposal is implemented.