The Obama administration announced a plan Tuesday which will allow several thousand children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status before attempting the treacherous journey to the U.S.
“We are establishing in-country refugee processing to provide a safe, legal and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that children are currently undertaking to join relatives in the United States,” White House spokesperson Shawn Turner told the New York Times, adding that the program will “not be a pathway for children to join undocumented relatives in the United States.”
The program was put together in response to a child migrant crisis this summer that overwhelmed authorities. It was announced in a memo that also capped refugee visas for the fiscal year 2015 at 70,000. Refugees from Latin America will be allowed 4,000 of those visas, reported the New York Times. Some 65,000 unaccompanied minor migrants crossed into the U.S. this year, fleeing endemic violence, poverty and conscription into gangs.