First President Trump defunded a program to feed starving people around the world. But ever the humanitarian, Trump isn’t stopping there. In his quest to erase Barack Obama from history, Trump just shut down a program that helped children escape violence in Central American countries. The administration had already limited the Central American Minors (CAM) program, but they shuttered the program with barely 24-hour notice. Families in the process of applying had until midnight November 9th to submit all necessary documents.
As described in the FY 2018 Report to Congress on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, the U.S. government is ending the Central American Minors refugee program in FY 2018. https://t.co/0P5KgpT1t6
— Department of State (@StateDept) November 9, 2017
The process was never fast to begin with. Youth fleeing volatile regions of Central America would apply for asylum to join their families already in the United States. The 30ish hours to finish the applications “amounts to a cruel willingness to interfere” with the program, said Hans Van de Weerd of the International Rescue Committee in a statement, calling it “sabotage.”
“It’s hard to see how canceling the program directly benefits any U.S. citizen other than the president himself,” said Noah Bullock, director of the Central American human rights organization Cristosal.
The program started in response to the arrival of tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children in 2014. The program helped keep children safe from having to travel on the dangerous voyage north, in which many migrants are killed, kidnapped, or assaulted.
While CAM staunched the flow of children entering the U.S. already, Lilian Alba, who works with the refugee resettlement agency, International Institute of Los Angeles, says, “There is no question in our mind that this program saved lives.”’
“What the U.S. is interested in is security, its own security, and not the reasons why people are migrating,” said Sindy Hernández Bonilla, a researcher on migration at Guatemala’s Rafael Landivar University.
But for Trump, it’s not merely about security—it’s about Obama. Most of his policies in the first year have been to end the previous president’s policies. So, saving children from a deadly situation will never take precedence over his vendetta against a Black president.