(CNSNews.com) - According to refugee data from the U.S. Department of State, the more than 57,000 unaccompanied children who have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border since October is nearly 14 times the number of protections the Obama administration granted human rights refugees from Central America in Fiscal Year 2013.
Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela are currently the only countries in the Western Hemisphere on the State Department's list of human rights violators. The Obama administration granted a total of 4,208 refugee protections and 85 requests for asylum from Cuba and Venezuela in Fiscal Year 2013. No refugee status was granted to Ecuadorians, and only 25 were granted asylum.
Another 230 refugees from Colombia, which does not rank on the list of human rights violators, brings the grand total of refugees from Central America in 2013 to 4,438.
The number of unaccompanied children apprehended this year, who are mostly coming from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico, is also about five times the number of refugees the federal government accepted from all 20 “Tier 3” human trafficking countries in Fiscal Year 2013.
Last year, the Obama administration granted refugee status to 11,607 refugees from Tier 3 human trafficking countries, defined by the State Department as “countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards [of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act] and are not making significant efforts to do so.” These countries include Syria, Iran, North Korea and the Congo, along with 16 others.
The Department of State also ranks eight “Countries of Particular Concern” as the top violators of religious freedom in the world, including Eritrea, Sudan, Burma, China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. These nations are known for extreme tactics against religious freedom, particularly Christianity, including execution, torture, degradation, imprisonment and abduction.
The death toll stemming from Syria's ongoing three-year civil war surpassed 160,000 in May of this year, including 54,000 civilians and more than 8,000 children, according to a report by NBC News. The Obama administration granted 36 refugee protections and 48 requests for asylum for Syrian citizens in Fiscal Year 2013.
The vast majority of illegal aliens currently flooding the U.S. border are from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico – nations with consistently high crime rates, but not listed by the federal government as violators of human rights. Still, many of these aliens have been dubbed “refugees” by some federal lawmakers, who say the waves of unaccompanied children and family units are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.
“I think we have to take it on a case-by-case basis,” House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a press conference in Brownsville, Texas.
“We don’t want our good nature abused by those who would misrepresent what’s happening in the United States on the subject of immigration to affect how we deal with a refugee problem – a refugee problem somewhere else in this world, a refugee problem right at our front door,” she said.
“So it is you know, case-by-case. We must have due process; we must enforce the law, but we must – and that law includes respecting of the claims of persecution or violence at home, especially for juveniles,” Pelosi added.
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) said children who are crossing the U.S. border illegally are “refugees” who are fleeing violence.
“This is a humanitarian crisis that we are facing on our southern border and we need to respond,” Crowley said during a press briefing last week, according to Talk Radio News Service. “These are children who are coming across as refugees because of the violence that they are facing in their homelands.”
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a "refugee" is defined as a person who is unable to return to his or her home country “because of persecution, or a well-founded fear of persecution on the account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a refugee applicant must be referred for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program while they are still outside of the United States. If they are admitted to the program, they will undergo a medical screening and background check as well as a cultural orientation program before arriving in the United States.
A person already in the United States who has not yet been granted refugee status can apply for asylum, a similar status which also requires the person“must establish that race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.”