Belize hosted 860 refugees and asylum seekers at year-end 2003, including 660 Salvadorans, 80 Guatemalans, 70 Nicaraguans, and 50 Hondurans. Thirteen people from Belize sought asylum in the United States.

New Developments

Hundreds of the refugees in Belize are long-stayers. Belize naturalized 190 refugees, including 90 Guatemalans, 60 Salvadorans, 20 Nicaraguans, and 20 Hondurans, but did not offer refugee protection to new arrivals. There were about 10 asylum seekers in the country, but no asylum process in 2003. Undocumented presence, even that of asylum seekers, was treated as a criminal offense subject to six month's imprisonment. This can extend much longer since Belize has difficulties deporting asylum seekers without proper documents.


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