A Positive Step: U.S., U.N. to Establish Refugee Processing Centers in Central America

Communications Associate

January 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration has announced that it is partnering with the United Nations to process potential refugees in Latin American countries.

The move is designed to stem the flow of people from Central America who have been arriving at the southern border and seeking asylum, as reported in the New York Times. It comes as administration raids target earlier-arriving Central American families and children for deportation.

At the processing centers, the U.N. will determine migrants’ potential eligibility for refugee status. Those eligible could be placed in the U.S. or other countries.

“The administration needs consistency in its refugee policy. This program is a step forward,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Determining refugee status before migrants undertake a desperate journey to our border would only help. The administration should move quickly and efficiently to make it reality.

“In the meantime, due process is crucial for families and children who are already here. Too many people targeted in the raids have circumstances that suggest they should not be deported at all. We must do better.”