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February 25, 2016

Why A Single Question Decides The Fates Of Central American Migrants
By Eyder Peralta

Since about 2009, many more Central American migrants including many minors are making the trip north and seeking asylum. The reasons for the increase are fairly easy to explain. They parallel the ebb and flow of violent crime in the region. As the homicide rate spiked in Mexico, so did asylum applications; as San Pedro Sula became the murder capital of the world, asylum applications from Honduras increased. The U.N.'s refugee agency has interviewed hundreds of women and children who have crossed the U.S. border over the past couple of years, and a vast majority of them said they were fleeing violence from organized crime. The big question is: Just how many Central American asylum seekers are being classified as refugees and allowed to stay in the U.S.? In 2010, Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, found that 9 in 10 Hondurans and Salvadorans were being denied asylum, and 8 in 10 Mexicans and Guatemalans were denied. TRAC also keeps tabs on cases fast-tracked by the Obama administration involving thousands of women and children. And those numbers show that not much has changed: 9 in 10 Hondurans and Salvadorans have been denied asylum, and 8 in 10 Mexicans and Guatemalans have been denied.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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