Unaccompanied Children from Central America: Foreign Policy Considerations [April 11, 2016] [open pdf - 994KB]
"Since FY2011, the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) traveling to the United States from the 'northern triangle' nations of Central America--El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras--has increased sharply. U.S. authorities encountered more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors from the region at the U.S. border in FY2014, a more than 1,200% increase compared to FY2011. This unexpected surge of children strained U.S. government resources and created a complex crisis with humanitarian implications. U.S. apprehensions of unaccompanied minors from the northern triangle declined by 45% in FY2015. They increased in the first five months of FY2016, however, and experts warn that significant migration flows will continue until policymakers in the countries of origin and the international community address the poor socioeconomic and security conditions driving Central Americans to leave their homes. The 2014 migration crisis led to renewed focus on Central America, a region with which the United States historically has shared close political, economic, and cultural ties. The United States engages with Central American countries through a variety of mechanisms, including a security assistance package known as the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Over the past two years, the Obama Administration has sought closer cooperation with Central American governments to dissuade children from making the journey to the United States, target smuggling networks, and repatriate unauthorized migrants."
CRS Report for Congress, R43702
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html