On Wednesday, July 16, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register regarding the termination of the Central American Minors (CAM) Parole Program.
What is the Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee Program?
Instituted under the Obama administration, the CAM program provides certain qualified children who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as certain family members of those children, an opportunity to apply for refugee status and possible resettlement in the United States.
What is Parole?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses its discretion to authorize parole. Parole allows an individual, who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States, to be paroled into the United States for a temporary period. Parole is typically granted if there is an urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit and the applicant merits a favorable exercise of discretion.
Parole does not grant legal status and an individual who is paroled into the U.S. has not been formally admitted into the United States for purposes of immigration law. For additional information about parole, follow this link to the USCIS dedicated page on this topic.
What is the Central American Minors (CAM) Parole Program?
Under the CAM Parole Program, qualifying children and accompanying immediate relatives who were denied refugee status under the CAM Refugee Program were considered by USCIS for parole into the United States on a case-by-case basis. . If USCIS found a child to be ineligible for refugee status, the decision notice informed the child of whether he or she had been instead conditionally approved for parole into the United States under the CAM Parole Program.
Why is the CAM Parole Program being terminated?
On Jan. 25, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. Section 11 of the order called for DHS to take action to ensure that parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is exercised only on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the plain language of the statute, and only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit. Accordingly as of Aug. 16, 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has terminated the CAM Parole program.
What happens now?
USCIS is no longer automatically considering or offering parole for individuals denied refugee status in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras under the CAM Parole Program. Individuals who have been conditionally-approved for parole under the CAM Parole Program, who have not yet traveled, will be notified that their conditional offers of parole under this program have been rescinded. Refugee processing under the CAM Refugee program continues.
If you are affected by this development and have questions about parole and immigration programs for refugees, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for up-to-date immigration news.
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