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Immigration Law Blog


Central American Minors Program

The Newly Expanded Central American Minors Program (CAM Program) may be an option for child refugees.

In response to the large numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence and persecution from Central America, the U.S. State Department introduced the Central American Minors (CAM) Program on December 1, 2014. This program was launched as an in-country refugee/parole program for children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as a response to the sudden influx of more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors from those Central American countries.

The majority of these children, who made the treacherous journeys without their parents or relatives to protect them, did so in an effort to escape the deadly conditions in their homelands. As they illegally entered the U.S., they were apprehended at the southwest borders of the United States, clogging an already over-burdened system with unrepresented minors who would likely face death or torture upon their deportation.

Upon its introduction in December 2014, the CAM Program allowed certain parents who are already legally present in the United States to apply for refugee states through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for their children if they resided in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras and met the definition of “Refugee”. By applying through the U.S. Refugee Program, those children (who meet the definition of refugee) of the legally present parents would be transported and reunited with their families safely and through the appropriate channels in the U.S. Should a child not qualify as a refugee, but are at risk of harm, may be eligible for safe and legal travel to the U.S. under “humanitarian parole” which is considered on a case-by-case basis.

The CAM Program expanded in February 2015 to include certain eligible spouses and grandchildren of qualified persons from those same countries who are lawfully residing in the U.S.

Does Your Child/Loved-One Qualify?

The CAM Program defines “refugee” in accordance with USCIS guidelines under Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration Nationality Act. Under the USRAP, there is no fee to apply for refugee status, and your application will not be shared with your home country. This requires the qualifying adult to file Form DS-7699 “Affidavit of Relationship for Minors Who Are Nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras” (CAM-AOR).

The qualifying child/children must be:

• The biological, step, or legally adopted child of the qualifying parent
• Unmarried
• Under the age of 21
• A National of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras
• Residing in their country of nationality

Under the program expansion, eligible family members include:

• Unmarried children of the qualifying child who are under 21 years of age
• A parent of the qualifying child who is (1) within the same household and economic unit as the child; (2) legally married to the qualifying parent at the time of application; (3) continues to be married to the qualifying parent.

If You Are A Parent:

Only an eligible parent/adult can complete the Affidavit of Relationship (AOR). In order to qualify, you must be 18 years and older and lawfully present in the U.S. in one of the following statuses:

• Permanent Resident
• Temporary Protected
• Parolee
• Deferred Action
• Deferred Enforced Departure
• Withholding of Removal

Where to Apply:

Knowing where and how to apply can be overwhelming. In order to apply, you must do so in-person at a resettlement agency approved by the U.S. Dept. of State. There are no online forms available for application. Contact the Delgado Law Group for experienced guidance and legal representation if you are seeking to apply for the CAM Program.

  • 8 May, 2015
  • Jackie Delgado
  • CAM Program, CAMs Program, Central America, Central American Minors Program, El Salavador, Guatemala, Honduras, Immigration, Refugee,

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