In an effort to discourage children from making a dangerous journey to cross into the United States and join their parents, President Obama has announced that several thousand Central American children will be allowed to apply for refugee status in the United States by visiting centers in their own countries. Only those who already have parents in the United States with legal residency will be eligible. Processing centers will be established in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
This measure only eases processing and travel – it does not represent an increase in the number of refugees who will be given visas. The number of allocated visas for Central America (4,000) represents a fraction of the number of children who have entered the U.S. illegally this year and are awaiting deportation.
Children in Cuba, Eurasia, the Baltic nations, and Iraq might qualify to become refugees in the United States, but the government will not set up processing in those areas.
The program will not apply to refugees who have already entered the country illegally.
At this point, there are few details about the program and the application process.
If you want to know whether you or your relative qualify for this or any other immigration benefit, see an authorized immigration legal services provider—a licensed attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative.
New York Times: Obama Approves Plan to Let Children in Central America Apply for Refugee Status