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President Biden reopens program (CAM) allowing Central American children to come to the U.S. legally

The U.S. government started accepting new applications for an Obama-era immigration policy that allows some U.S.-based parents to bring their children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to the country legally.

The acceptance of new petitions will mark the final stage of the Biden administration's revival of the Central American Minors (CAM) initiative, which U.S. officials have portrayed as a safe and legal alternative to the often dangerous trek immigrant children undertake to reach the southern border.

In June, the Biden administration expanded eligibility for the CAM program, allowing parents to petition for their children if they have pending applications for asylum or U visas, which are reserved for victims of serious crimes. Green card holders, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries and others with temporary legal status in the U.S. can also apply. The adjudication process should take between 12 and 14 months, administration officials said.

Created in 2014 after a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied children entering U.S. border custody, the CAM policy was designed to help minors fleeing violence in Central America who have family in the United States.

After their U.S.-based parents submit applications on their behalf, children are interviewed in their home countries to determine whether they qualify for refugee resettlement based on persecution they may have suffered. If they are denied refugee status, the children may still be granted humanitarian parole, which allows them to enter the U.S. legally. If you have any questions regarding the CAM program, please call our office to schedule a consultation.

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