The White House confirmed Thursday that it is considering allowing children from Honduras into the United States without making the journey through Mexico.
The proposal calls for the government to screen thousands of children in Honduras to determine if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. The proposal was first reported by the New York Times, but confirmed later by senior White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity as a matter of practice.
The United States has done that in the past with other humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam. In Honduras, many children are fleeing violent street gangs.
The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will visit the White House Friday to talk about the escalating crisis at the U.S. border.
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President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the three leaders will talk about how to stem the growing flow of illegal from Central America to Mexico and the United States.
The discussion will include how the United States and Central American governments are promoting safe, legal and orderly migration and how they can work together to foster development, economic growth and security in the region.
Biden will host a lunch for the three leaders prior to the meeting with Obama to continue the conversation he began in his June 20 meeting in Guatemala City.
About 52,000 minors without their parents have been caught at the southwest border since October. Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to help deal with the problem.