The news in California has been full of stories about the hundreds of children who have been streaming across the U.S. border in order to try to join relatives already living in the United States. For relatives who are currently living legally in California, the federal government has changed stances and is now preparing to allow children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to seek asylum status.
The program will begin in December. Children can apply for asylum in the U.S. in their home country. They must be intending to join a relative who is already legally living in the United States and must submit to a DNA test to verify that they are related. The federal government announced that in some cases, the parent of the child may also be included on the asylum application as well.
To be eligible, the children must be under 21 years old and unmarried. The government stated that children who do not comply with the asylum application requirements may still be allowed a special residency permit based on humanitarian grounds if they are in danger in their home country.
The new approach comes as welcome news to the families of children who are stuck in countries in which they are in danger. For families with children still living in El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala, the asylum status may allow the children to legally travel to the United States while avoiding the long and treacherous journey many undergo across South and Central America. Families of children so situated may benefit by speaking with an immigration law attorney who can provide more information regarding eligibility and assist the family with helping the child apply.
Source: FOX News Latino, “Minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras can now apply for asylum in U.S.”, November 14, 2014