WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to the Administration’s announcement of expanded protections for Central American migrants seeking refugee status in the United States. The new protections will expand the individuals eligible for the current Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee Program administered by the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and establish a new protection transfer arrangement with Costa Rica, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, allowing prescreened migrants in need of immediate protection to travel to Costa Rica while they undergo refugee processing.
“Thousands of children and families continue to flee violent and sometimes desperate conditions in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. I commend President Obama, his administration and our international partners on the expanded protections for those who are in danger. These efforts will help threatened children and others find safety without risking a dangerous 1,500-mile journey across Mexico in the hands of criminal groups. At the same time, we are continuing to push back on the smuggling networks that exploit the fear and desperation of families and parents. We have a moral obligation to continue efforts to protect the least of these among us, that includes protection for those who need it and cracking down on smugglers and traffickers who seek to exploit their misery, but also working to address the root causes of the desperate conditions in the Northern Triangle countries driving so many north.”