Children crossing the United States border, are they refugees?

A new trend that started a year ago now is brewing as a humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border. Unaccompanied children from Central America including Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are taking a riskier journey through Mexico and entering the United States at its Southwestern border. Are they refugees? Among other reason they appear to be trying to escape gangs and violence in their own countries. Fueling the crisis and recent surge is rumors spreading through the Central America that a child entering the US could stay in the country without the fear of prosecution.

The Center For American Progress label the surge as a refugee crisis that affects the US as well as many other neighboring countries including Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Belize. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that asylum claims in these countries including the United States have dramatically increased in the recent past. They believe a minor who is crossing the US border may qualify as a refugee under the international protection claims. The UNHCR believes that minors may have viable claim for refugee protection under the international law. It may become clear in coming weeks and months.