E.g., 07/01/2022
E.g., 07/01/2022
Humanitarian Pathways for Central Americans: Assessing Opportunities for the Future
Policy Briefs
May 2022

Humanitarian Pathways for Central Americans: Assessing Opportunities for the Future

Since 2015, hundreds of thousands of Central Americans—primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—have left their home countries due to an intertwined set of factors, including poverty, food insecurity, gang-related violence, and human-rights violations. Many have taken perilous journeys to seek protection in neighboring Mexico and the United States, where the scale and diverse profiles of asylum seekers have challenged the governments’ processing capacity.

For most of these Central Americans, traveling by their own means to Mexico or the United States is the only avenue to seek international protection. While refugee resettlement programs allow states to vet and select individuals who have fled their country and are living in another, resettlement has typically been used on a very limited basis in the region.

Some policymakers, notably in the United States and Canada, have begun to reconsider the role that resettlement could play in addressing these protection needs. This brief assesses how resettlement and other humanitarian pathways have operated in the region to date, and explores the opportunities and obstacles to scaling up these programs.

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Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  Resettlement and Humanitarian Pathways from the Region: State of Play
A. In-Country Processing and the Protection Transfer Arrangement
B. Resettlement from Third Countries
C. Non-Resettlement Humanitarian Pathways

3  What Role Should Resettlement and Other Humanitarian Pathways Play in the Region?

4  Recommendations and Conclusions