Obama Finally Floats a Refugee Plan As Support for Deportation Grows

Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina, left, listens as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media next to Honduran President Juan Hernandez after they met to discuss Central American immigration and the border crisis. Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina, left, listens as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media next to Honduran President Juan Hernandez after they met to discuss Central American immigration and the border crisis. AP Photo

Obama administration officials are considering a plan that would allow Hondurans under 21 to apply for refugee status from their home country, without having to make the dangerous trek to America. Meanwhile, a new CNN poll shows that a slim majority of Americans now believe the U.S. should focus on deportations over legalization. 

According to The New York Times, the proposal is just one of many being discussed, but would likely see 5,000 children applying for 1,750 spots, costing the U.S. $47 million over two years. If they program was successful it would be expanded to El Salvador and Guatemala. Officials added that the plan could be enacted through executive action, as long as it doesn't increase the number of refugees admitted into the country each year. 

Guatemalan President Otto Perez, one of the three Central American presidents meeting with President Obama Friday to discuss the child migrant crisis, said Thursday that he hadn't yet heard the plan but expected a solution for all three countries. "We expect that the solution to this problem also is equal for the three countries," he told the Associated Press.

Critics of the plan argue that it changes the legal definition of a refugee — typically refugees are targeted for their religious or cultural affiliations, not general violence. At the same time, the administration's draft of the plan noted that 64.7 percent of unaccompanied migrant minors were granted asylum by immigration courts. Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, argued that illegal immigration would increase by an "order of magnitude" if applying for a refugee visa involved "nothing more than a bus ride to the consulate. We’re talking about, down the road, an enormous additional flow of people from those countries.”

And the recent spotlight on the child migrant crisis may be shifting America's views. In February, the Pew Research Center found that Americans were evenly split— 45 percent to 45 percent — on where increased deportations were good or bad. In July, however, 53 percent of Americans thought we should deal with the recent influx of Central American kids by "speed(ing up the) process, even if some who are eligible for asylum are deported. Another 39 percent thought we should follow the current process. 

A new CNN poll, released Thursday, shows a similar drop in support for legalization (this poll also asks the same question, unlike the Pew polls):

Congress is currently attempting to legislate on President Obama's request for $3.8 billion to increase resources at the border and expedite deportations. Both the House and the Senate have slashed that request by over $1 billion, and House Republicans are demanding a change to a 2008 human trafficking law that prevents the immediate deportation of Central Americans. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.