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Costa Rica eyed for UN refugee camps under new US asylum plan: report

Costa Rica is being eyed by US officials as a possible location to establish temporary UN shelter and processing centers for refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.  Pictured: A UN refugee camp and processing center for Syrian refugees in Jordan. (Handout/UNHCR)

Costa Rica is being eyed by US officials as a possible location to establish temporary UN shelter and processing centers for refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Pictured: A UN refugee camp and processing center for Syrian refugees in Jordan. (Handout/UNHCR)

January 14th, 2016 (ICR News) Perhaps impressed with its recent handling of the Cuban migrant crisis, officials in the United States are eyeing Costa Rica as a possible location to establish UN refugee camps for those waiting to be screened for asylum in the US as part of a plan by the US to significantly expand its refugee program to those fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the New York Times reports.

 

As it has done in Turkey and Jordan for refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) would set up “processing centers” where migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras would be temporarily out of danger while being housed and screened for possible admission as refugees to the United States and possibly other countries.

 

Citing “people who were briefed on the plans,” the New York Times report says that Costa Rica as well as Belize and Mexico are under consideration as possible locations for the refugee centers.

 

“The migrants would stay in the temporary centers while the United Nations was reviewing them [sic], but it has not been decided if they would be in camps or some other, less restrictive shelters,” the Times said.

 

Tens of thousands of people would likely flow through the centers each year, and as many as 9,000 per year could eventually be resettled in the US, according to the report.

 

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced on Wednesday that the US government plans to significantly expand its Refugee Admissions Program to include immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who are fleeing violence in their homelands.

 

The goal is to provide Central American families a “safe and legal alternative to the dangerous journey many are currently tempted to begin, making them easy prey for human smugglers,” Kerry said in a speech at the National Defense University.

 

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  • dr meno

    Just Say NO, CR. All this is a polite form of a FEMA Camp. Operated by your local Central Bank. Remember they own your country through odious loans you’ll never can pay off.

  • richard schlinder

    This is a string C.R. does not to be attached to. It will cost us more than we think and not just money.

  • jahjan

    This is a difficult idea – on the one hand, these refugees really need solutions to staying in their dangerous homes, but I agree that it would burden CR to an impossible degree, financially and culturally.

  • Ken Morris

    I dunno, there’s usually a good bit of US money attached to these operations. Just ask anyone in the US living near prisons or military bases, or those working for companies with US government contracts. They love those federal government US dollars flowing in! Meanwhile, look at San Diego to see how US federal government spending gooses an entire economy. It looks to me like Costa Rica may have stumbled upon a gravy train here.

    The downside, as I see it, is that Costa Rica will have a massive illegal immigrant problem. If the US plans to run tens of thousands through the center but only approve 9000, where are those who aren’t approved going to go? Odds are many won’t return home. We have good reason to suspect that as many as 2000 of the 8000 Cubans have already slipped out of the official “humanitarian corridor” to try their luck on their own, and all these people are automatically approved as US refugees. What will be the winging it rate of the wannabe refugees when three out of four of them are turned down? I predict that if Costa Rica agrees it will have to deal with thousands of new illegal immigrants, some of them scoundrels.

    But the downside is really just a matter for contract negotiations. As long as Costa Rica is appropriately suspicious of US assurances that it will handle the problem of the illegals, which it likely won’t as well as it promises, and negotiates a contract that covers Costa Rica’s costs for dealing with this side problem too, this may be a win for Costa Rica.

    Add that for the most part asylum seekers are good people–hey, they’re the ones trying to escape the drugs and violence–and in this case they will be primarily Spanish-speaking Catholics. No real worries about terrorists or even cultural barriers.

    Mainly, the US government pays very well for this kind of work. I say that while Costa Rica should be careful to negotiate a deal that covers its costs for the illegals, it should negotiate eagerly. It’s easy money for white-collar work.

    • duke ster

      Leave it yo you to have the facts and figures in these matters.
      Perhaps you could oversee the deal and report to us as to the real inside secret dealings as you figure it.
      What I take away from your synopsis is that the Costa Rican politicos will stuff their pockets with US federal fund monies. And the populace will have many many new people in their midst to deal with and the Cubans are well schooled in getting by on next to nothing, much better than even the Ticos who they will pick clean.
      So the Ticos will have a new populace to look down on but this new populace will not lay down like the Nicaraguans. The Cubans will get together and prosper like you won’t believe.
      If you think the Ticos are prejudiced and think they are better than everyone else…. wait until you get a load of how the Cubans think their shit don’t stink!
      Bring thousands of Cubans into Costa Rica and let them off their chain and talk about crime? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet !

      • Ken Morris

        I don’t have any facts or figures and am not alleging corruption (before it happens), just figure that a refugee processing center funded by the US would mean lots of decent clerk-type jobs for Ticos as well as spin-off private businesses like hotels and restaurants.

        Also, we’re not talking about Cubans as the asylum seekers, but about those from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These people pose a different challenge, since most are fleeing drug gangs. This means that some will be former gang members trying to get out and probably some will be ongoing gang members trying to punish those trying to get out. (As I understand it, you’re not allowed to quit a gang, and many gang members are recruited as juveniles.) The project therefore raises a lot of safety and security concerns.

        However, let’s wait until there’s an offer on the table before we either run the numbers or worry about it. Right now it seems that only a trial balloon was floated. This doesn’t mean much, and at the pace governments move, we’re probably looking at a long wait before any deal is negotiated, if one ever is.

  • Yeims

    How convenient that a couple of months ago, the official description of the country was changed to include “multi-cultural”, almost like someone could tell the future.

  • Lorenzo Muller

    Ronald Reagan and the CIA already gave us 1 million Nicaraguans, now this?, fuck it.

  • duke ster

    Costa Rican politicos will stuff their pockets with US federal fund
    monies. And the populace will have many many new people in their midst
    to deal with and the Cubans are well schooled in getting by on next to
    nothing, much better than even the Ticos who they will pick clean.
    So
    the Ticos will have a new populace to look down on but this new
    populace will not lay down like the Nicaraguans. The Cubans will get
    together and prosper like you won’t believe.
    If you think the Ticos
    are prejudiced and think they are better than everyone else…. wait
    until you get a load of how the Cubans think their shit don’t stink!
    Bring thousands of Cubans into Costa Rica and let them off their chain and talk about crime? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet !

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