In 2014, the U.S. government established the Central American Minors Refugee and Parole Program (CAM). This program was started to give at-risk children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras the opportunity to come to the United States as refugees. However, in 2017, the program was terminated and the Department of State (DOS) stopped accepting new submissions.
Earlier this year, the DOS and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the CAM program will be reopened in two stages. In the first stage, the refugee resettlement agencies reached out to families whose applications were closed due to the program termination. Now, the second stage has begun and the U.S. government is accepting new applications.
Who is eligible for the CAM program?
You may be eligible to apply for your child(ren) if you are a parent or legal guardian who is a citizen of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras, at least 18 years of age; and legally present in the United States in any of the following categories:
- Lawful Permanent Resident Status;
- Temporary Protected Status;
- Deferred Action;
- Deferred Enforced Departure;
- Withholding of Removal;
- A Pending I-589 application for asylum filed prior to May 15, 2021;
- A Pending I-918 petition for U nonimmigrant visa filed prior to May 15, 2021.
How can you apply for the CAM Program?
To apply for refugee status under the CAM Program, you may file a DS-7699 (Affidavit of Relationship) with a designated resettlement agency in the United States. If you do not qualify for refugee status, you may still be considered for parole to enter the U.S. temporarily. Parole under the CAM Program is granted on a case-by-case basis and is generally granted for a two year period after which you can apply for re-parole.
The CAM Program provides a unique opportunity for at-risk children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to receive refugee or parolee status in the U.S. even when their parents or legal guardians may not be able to petition them. Please note that children of U.S. Citizens and Asylees are not eligible for the CAM program. U.S. citizens must petition their children with a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Asylees must file a Form I-730, Asylee/Refugee Relative Petition.
If you or someone you know may be eligible for the CAM Program, please feel free to contact one of our many offices and we can direct you to a resettlement agency who may be able to help. Also, for individualized advice on your immigration matter, please feel free to contact our experienced professionals at Wilner and O’Reilly. We offer free telephonic and video consultations at our offices in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; Phoenix, Arizona, Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah; and Boise, Idaho.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Juliana Ramirez is an immigration attorney at Wilner & O’Reilly. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School, where she graduated in the top 30% of her class. Mrs. Ramirez is admitted to the California State Bar. Mrs. Ramirez has dedicated her legal career to the practice of immigration law. She has extensive experience assisting clients with both employment-based and family-based immigration solutions. Also, as the daughter of an immigrant, she takes great pride in providing clients with tailor-made solutions to their individual situations and counseling them through the immigration process.
Richard M. Wilner is a founding member of Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and is Board Certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law. He is admitted to practice law in the State of California and before the U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California, the Northern District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.Mr. Wilner has received the coveted Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, the highest legal and ethical rating that one can receive from one’s peers in the legal community. Similarly, he has been awarded the title of Super Lawyer from 2007 to the present. He is best known for his work in advising Fortune 500 companies, middle and small market businesses, entrepreneurs and foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in athletics, arts, and sciences in the complex area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law.