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Central American and Mexican Claims

A family of Colombian refugees lives in Ecuador in 2020.

UNHCR has long recognized the protection needs of individuals fleeing threats or harm by gangs and other organized criminal groups in various parts of the world, including Central America and Mexico, and it has concluded that, depending on the circumstances, survivors of such violence may be considered in need of international protection. Over the years, an increasing number of individuals at risk of or who have suffered violence by organized criminal groups in Central America and Mexico have fled to the United States in search of safety. UNHCR works to understand and address these protection needs, and it has conducted studies examining this issue and published guidance on these types of claims.

UNHCR offers the following summary of its position on this topic as relevant to pursuing asylum in the United States:

Key UNHCR Resources

For a discussion of UNHCR’s views on the legal analysis of gang-related asylum claims, including in the U.S. context, see:

For more detailed analysis of the situation in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and an assessment of the potential international protection needs of asylum seekers from those countries, see:

Additional Materials