U.S. cancels program for Central American immigrant children

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® alerts you to a significant change in a humanitarian program for Central American children.

This is the column:

Effective today, August 15, 2017, the Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program, which provided a safe and legal pathway for children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras facing danger in their home countries to immigrate to the United States, is closed.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made the following statement today's announcement and clarified that pending applications have been dismissed. He also informed that individuals whose cases were approved but who have not yet traveled to the United States will be notified that their conditional admissions are revoked as a result of the program's closure.

Closure does not affect CAM refugee processing

The end of the conditional admission program does not affect the processing of the CAM refugee program. That part of the program remains in effect and applications from Central American minors seeking refugee status will continue to be processed. You can read more about the CAM refugee program by clicking here.

Children who do not qualify for the CAM refugee program may apply for a humanitarian parole. You can read more about this kind of benefit by clicking here.

How the CAM permit program came about

The massive wave of Central American children arriving in the United States caused a humanitarian crisis, to which the United States responded with the creation of the CAM humanitarian program.

Since it went into effect on December 1, 2014, the CAM program reviewed cases of Central American minors who could be reunified with relatives with legal status in the United States and those applying for refugee status.

The main objective was to provide an alternative so that children would not risk their lives in a dangerous journey to reach the United States.

The CAM permit program allowed certain parents who are lawful permanent residents of the United States to file a petition through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to bring their children to the United States.

Through the CAM program, children who did not qualify for refugee status were considered for a two-year conditional admission permit. By President Trump's executive order issued on January 25, 2017, as of February the federal government stopped processing conditional admissions and today that program officially closed.

According to figures provided by the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador.During the past three years, the CAM program offered a safe way of entry to the country to 3,030 Central American youth. Of this total, 2,447 are Salvadoran.


At this time, there is no deadline for filing applications under the CAM refugee program. However, the program could end at any time and eligible individuals should submit an application as soon as possible.

For additional information, you can visit the CAM refugee program pages by clicking on here and here.

Please seek personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings. I remind you that notaries, immigration consultants and paperwork fillers cannot give you legal advice.