Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress released today two reports that together offer short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations to address the Central American refugee situation.
Immigration and international policy experts worked together on these reports to lay out a comprehensive approach to the situation that would ensure that refugees fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle are treated in a fair and orderly manner and that the United States works with countries in Central America and neighbors to the north and south to help address the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.
One report lays out short-term recommendations for ensuring that all asylum seekers who reach the United States receive a full and fair shot at protection. The recommendations are structured to follow the process that children and families go through when seeking protection: arrival in the United States, custody determinations and detention, and proceedings in the immigration courts.
“The United States can meet the challenge of refugee children and families in a measured and orderly fashion that protects people who arrive at our borders and gives them a fair shot at protection, including access to counsel, increased due process, and a functioning immigration court system,” said Philip E. Wolgin, Managing Director for the Immigration team at the Center for American Progress, and author of the short-term report. “Doing so recognizes the severity of the conditions in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala that are pushing these individuals out of the region, while also recognizing that durable solutions must come from building up the regional refugee processing capacity in Mexico and Central America and tackling the root causes of violence and structural poverty.”
The accompanying report lays out a series of medium-term recommendations, with a focus on refugee processing solutions—both in the countries of origin and across the region—that would give children and families a safe place to flee in the region and be processed as refugees and for resettlement without having to make the dangerous journey to the United States. It also provides long-term recommendations aimed at tackling the root causes of violence, poverty, and insecurity plaguing the Northern Triangle countries. These focus on integrating U.S. efforts—within U.S. bureaucracy and across the Northern Triangle—as well as efforts by the United States and Central America to enhance economic development, promote the rule of law, and target illicit networks.
“A sustained, well-coordinated commitment from the United States that understands that security and economic development are inextricably linked is vital to overcoming the challenges facing the Northern Triangle,” said Dan Restrepo, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the medium- and long-term report. “U.S. efforts, however, can work if, and only if, all actors in the Northern Triangle—governments, civil society, and private sectors—come together and invest in building sustainable societies.”
Read “A Short-Term Plan to Address the Central American Refugee Situation” by Philip E. Wolgin
Read “A Medium- and Long-Term Plan to Address the Central American Refugee Situation” by Dan Restrepo and Silva Mathema
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