The U.S. government announced Tuesday it is expanding its efforts to help Central American families trying to get to the U.S. in order to stave off a surge of migrants at the border.
Homeland Security Department officials said Tuesday that Costa Rica will begin allowing families fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to temporarily settle there while they await approval of their refugee status in the U.S. or another country.
But there’s a catch: they must be screened in their own country and not arrive in Costa Rica on their own. Officials said the program in Costa Rica can manage 200 people up to six months.
The U.S. is also expanding its family screening programs to help reunite children with parents already living here legally.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, more than 43,000 children have been apprehended at the Southwest border this fiscal year through June 30.
In the same time period in fiscal year 2014, with the migrant crisis at its highest, there were more than 57,000.