HIAS Applauds Expansion of CAM Program

SILVER SPRING, Md. — On June 15, the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced the expansion of the Central American Minors (CAM) program. The program was established in 2014 as a way for certain U.S.-based parents of children from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to apply for refugee status or other temporary protection for their children, who remained in their home countries. This measure meant the children would not have to make the dangerous journey to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The Trump administration stopped the program in 2017, but the Biden administration began to reopen CAM cases in March. The administration is now extending application eligibility to legal guardians as well as parents, and expanding the classes of lawfully-present immigrants who may petition for their children; now, parents with pending asylum claims or pending U visas (humanitarian visa for immigrant victims of certain crime in the U.S.) may apply.

“HIAS applauds the expansion of the CAM program,” said Naomi Steinberg, HIAS’ vice president of policy and advocacy. “The original scope of CAM was limited, making it almost impossible for some of the most at-risk children in the Northern Triangle to actually benefit from the program. Expanding CAM eligibility is an important step offering protection to children and reuniting families from the Northern Triangle who have been separated for too long. In addition to applauding today’s announcement, HIAS will continue to call on the administration to implement a fair and humane asylum process that fully respects asylum seekers’ legal rights at our southern border.”

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