In 2013, President Obama announced that the United States was suffering from a “humanitarian aid crisis.” The number of unaccompanied minors from Mexico and Central America apprehended at the border grew to 47,017—the highest ever recorded.[1] Central American children continue to flee from the violence and poverty that engulfs their countries.

Between the 1960s and the 1980s, violence gripped residents in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador as civil wars and economic crises caused political instability. As a result, the U.S implemented the Reagan Doctrine that provided Central American governments with monetary aid to combat domestic communism. Unfortunately, grave human rights violations continued. For example, in 1982, when the U.S. provided Guatemalan President Montt with 6.3 million dollars in military equipment, the Guatemalan government sponsored the genocide of 70,000 indigenous residents.[2] The U.S. is complicit in enabling the violence that continues to prevail within the region.

In December 2014, President Obama implemented The Central American Refugee/Parole program to deter children from crossing the border while allowing them to apply for refugee status.[3] However, the program has failed to address the urgency of the children’s situation, as only 90 out of 4,300 applications have been reviewed.[4]


[1] Jens Manuel Krogstand. Ana Gonzalez-Barrera. “Number of Latino Children caught trying to enter U.S nearly doubles in less than a year.” Pew Research Center.

[2] “Guatemala: Silent Holocaust: The Mayan Genocide” The Center For Justice & Accountability: Bringing Human Rights Abusers to Justice

[3] “In-Country Refugee/Parole Processing for Minors in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (Central American Minors – CAM)” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Dec. 1. 2015.

[4] Elise Folie. “A Program Meant to Keep Kids From Coming to the U.S. Illegally Hasn’t Let Anyone In Legally Yet.” HuffPost Politics. Oct. 28. 2015