Today President Obama met with the Presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras regarding the humanitarian crisis with refugee children who have left their homes in Central America to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Presidents issued this joint statement:
“We met today to discuss our ongoing collaboration regarding the increased numbers of unaccompanied minors and adults with children migrating to the United States. We expressed our shared belief in the need for a humanitarian response to the situation, with a focus on the safety and well-being of children and families. We reiterated our commitment to prevent families and children from undertaking this dangerous journey and to work together to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration. We pledged to continue to pursue the criminal networks that are exploiting this uniquely vulnerable population and we agreed on the need to discourage the use of smuggling networks that place individuals at high risk of violent crime and sexual abuse along the journey. We reviewed and agreed to redouble our joint efforts to counter misinformation about U.S. immigration policy. We committed to work together on the ongoing efforts to humanely repatriate migrants, consistent with due process.
We expressed our commitment to work together in a spirit of shared responsibility to address the underlying causes of migration by reducing criminal activity and promoting greater social and economic opportunity. The Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras welcomed President Obama’s request for additional foreign assistance as part of the supplemental request to Congress to support the U.S. response to the increased migration. The Central American presidents indicated to President Obama that they are working on a comprehensive plan to address the underlying causes of the humanitarian situation on the border. We all agreed that an effective solution requires a comprehensive and joint effort on the part of the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the United States, as well as other countries in Central America, and Mexico and Colombia. We directed our teams to begin coordinating such a plan, in collaboration with other international partners. Our objective is to create the conditions that will allow the citizens of Central America to live in safe communities with access to education, jobs, and opportunities for social and economic advancement.”
President Obama is requesting that Congress approve a $3.7 billion supplemental request for additional border security, additional immigration judges, and more money for Central American countries to address issues of crime and human smuggling in their own countries. The Democrats in the Senate are requesting a $2.7 billion spending bill, and the House GOP is proposing a bill of less than $2 billion to address this issue according to The Washington Post.
Texas Senator John Cronyn (R-Texas) told reporters on Wednesday, “Unfortunately, it looks like we’re on track to do absolutely nothing.”
The Obama administration is considering a plan that would allow some children and young adults from Honduras to enter the United States as refugees by application from their country. Drafts of this plan note that 64.7% of unaccompanied minors who applied for asylum this year received it.