Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she wanted more Central American citizens to apply for asylum to live in the United States from their home countries.
The Obama administration is reportedly considering setting up a satellite facility in Honduras to allow people to apply for asylum without coming to the United States, but Clinton said Guatemalans and El Salvadorans should have asylum facilities in their nations as well.
In an interview with Jorge Ramos on Fusion, Clinton said that she wanted facilities “over there” to “screen kids… before they get in the hands of coyotes, or they get on the beast, or they are raped.”
To qualify for asylum, people must “demonstrate fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” and Obama indicated in a meeting Friday with the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras that those fleeing poverty and “bad neighborhoods” would not be given asylum.
Clinton, who had previously said that illegal immigrant juveniles should be sent back, told Ramos that those who do not have a “family connection” to the United States should still be returned.
“Whoever was in the category of where they don’t have legitimate claim for asylum, where they don’t have some kind of family connection, those children should be returned to their families, and the families should be told that they should not be sending these young children on their own to face the dangers that exist on that travel,” she said.
Nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant juveniles have been apprehended at the border since October of last year. An estimated 75% of those illegal immigrants have been from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, with around 18,500 from Honduras. Federal officials estimate another 150,000 illegal immigrant juveniles will be apprehended in the next fiscal year.