Can the U.S. help people in their home country? - We Welcome

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We believe that in the ideal world, everyone would be safe to stay in their home rather than needing to flee to another country for refuge. In some cases it is possible for refugees to repatriate and return to their homes -- after a war or famine ends, for example -- but in many cases that is not possible. We support measures to provide aid and support to countries in crisis to allow them to rebuild and create a safe environment for their citizens. When that is not possible, we support a robust refugee and asylum system to welcome those who truly have no safe home to return to. 

As long as there are citizens who can’t trust their government to provide safety and stability, migration will be a necessity. To combat some of the instability in Central America, President Biden has tasked Vice President Harris with the task of addressing root causes of migration. Vice President Harris has already begun meeting with these governments and the latest budget proposal sent to Congress includes a request for increased aid to the struggling region. There are also non-profit organizations, such as ASJ Honduras and WOLA, that work to combat corruption and offer support in these countries.

Other recent efforts to provide greater support in Central America include the launch of “safe mobility offices” in Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica in 2023. These regional processing centers have two main goals:

  1. To identify and refer refugees from the Western Hemisphere for potential resettlement, and
  2. To create sites for sharing credible information with those on the journey with the hopes of deterring irregular migration when individuals have no real path to immigrate. 

Staff at the centers may also screen applicants for potential relocation to other safe countries, such as Canada or Spain. 

At this stage of implementation, there are differing eligibility criteria and processes based on the country where the office is located, but all of the countries are limited to serving individuals from a list of Latin American countries. Other asylum seekers, such as those from Asia or Africa, would not be eligible. It’s encouraging to see more resources directed toward refugee resettlement in the Western Hemisphere, as well as greater efforts to provide clarity to migrants who may be unsure what their immigration options are. We applaud these efforts, while also calling on the Biden administration to continue expanding legal pathways for migration.

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