Meet 2 Central American Refugee Kids Who Are Stuck In The U.S. Immigration System

Beginning next month, the federal government will change a rule in its visa guidelines that would leave kids like David and Alex stuck in limbo — potentially for years — as they wait to apply for green cards to stay in the country legally.
Feature (Virginia)

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee
April 21, 2016

Tags: Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)


The rule change will place David and Alex in an immigration category that has an annual global quota of about 10,000 green cards (in the 2016 fiscal year, that number was 9,961). Only seven percent, or 700 green cards, are issued per country, a number that falls short of accommodating approved SIJS Central American children who came to the U.S. in recent years.

Many of those SIJS applicants primarily come from three Central American countries — El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — where children are fleeing soaring homicide rates, gang violence, and crippling poverty.