AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 63

Volume 6 der. In the first 10 days of this operation, conducted last month, we made 30 criminal arrests and 19 administrative arrests of smugglers for immigration violations. In May, I visited Central America for the third time in two years. We are cognizant that conditions in Central America push many to flee the region in search of a better life in the United States. We recognize the need to provide a safe alternative path to our country, and that many from the region should be regarded as refugees. Through our Central American Minors program, the U.S. Government continues to offer in-country processing in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala for the protection of minors with a parent lawfully present in the United States. To date, we have accepted applications from 9,216 individuals and have approved 2,297 of these applications for refugee resettlement or parole. We are expanding other alternative paths to the United States for those who qualify for protection under our immigration laws. We also recognize that the ultimate solution is a long-term investment in Central America, to address underlying conditions there. We are please