To Ease Border Crunch, US May Screen Kids in Honduras

Proposal aimed at cutting down on number of youths crossing across Mexico to US
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2014 5:49 PM CDT
US May Screen Young Refugees in Honduras
A group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped June 25 in Granjeno, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The White House is floating a sure-to-be-controversial plan to ease the flood of young immigrants trying to get into the US illegally: It would screen the kids in Honduras to determine whether they're eligible to head to the US on refugee or humanitarian grounds, reports the New York Times. That way, the youths would avoid the dangerous trip across Mexico to the US border, and border communities wouldn't have to deal with them. If the proposal is adopted and it works, similar programs would be set up in Guatemala and El Salvador.

The US has conducted such "in-country screening programs" previously in Vietnam and Haiti, reports AP, but the Times notes that this would be the first time for a country whose residents can get to the US by land. Critics say it would increase the number of people trying to get to America by making the process easier, while advocates say those who qualify as refugees could be sent to other countries as well. The White House says it's only a proposal at this point. It would cost an estimated $47 million over two years. (Read more Honduras stories.)

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