The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that the number of requests for international refugee or asylum protection increased fivefold from 2010 to 2015. In the United States these requests are mainly filed by citizens from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—the countries collectively referred to as the Northern Triangle of Central America (TNCA). These applicants flee their countries of origin to escape threats to their lives and personal safety from gang violence, organized crime, and even police and military agents. Though the violence cannot be classified as a “war,” the daily life of many Central Americans is currently marked by human tragedies comparable to those experienced during the regional armed conflicts of past decades.
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