Central American Minors (CAM): Restarting Program for Certain Applicants

Photo: Adapted from Joe Piette via Flickr

Welcome to the CAM Hotline of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP).

As a result of a case filed by IRAP and the law firm Arnold & Porter, the government is restarting processing applications for approximately 2,700 people in the Central American Minors (CAM) humanitarian parole program. A family can only benefit from this processing if the children/family members have already been conditionally approved for parole and the family remains eligible for the CAM program. To see the documents that the government sent to conditionally approved CAM applicants when the program was still active, click here. If you’d like to know if your family qualifies for processing now, click on the Basic Information Video at the top of the page for more information. This video is in Spanish. 

If you have your CAM case number, you can check if you qualify for processing now using an online government tool: click here.

At the beginning of June 2019, the government sent letters to parents in the United States who had filed CAM applications for their children and whose families appear to be eligible for processing now.  If you received this letter, please watch the Immigration Letter Video at the top of the page for more information.  If you did not receive this letter, but you believe that your family was conditionally approved for parole, please watch the What to do if you didn’t receive the letter Video. These videos are in Spanish.

Some parents recently received a different letter from the government, saying that they have to prove that they have legal status in the United States before their families can be processed.  To see a copy of this legal status letter, click here. To see a copy of the general letter about processing, click here.

If you received the letter asking about your legal status and you would like to find legal assistance in your area, click here.

Please visit this webpage frequently for more information and videos about CAM processing.  You can also communicate with our CAM Hotline at (917) 410-7546, +503 2113 3539 (El Salvador), o by email info@menoresCAM.com. Due to the high call volume the hotline receives, it is possible we may not be able to respond to you immediately, but we will try to respond as quickly as possible.

What Do I Need to Know? Basic Information

Access the PDF version here.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (“IRAP”) provides free legal help to refugees and displaced people. IRAP is not part of the U.S. government or IOM. This guide provides general information about the settlement in S.A. v. Trump, in which IRAP challenged the end of the CAM Parole program. It is not meant as legal advice for individual applicants. This information was revised in May 2019.

What does the settlement do?

The settlement re-starts the Central American Minors (CAM) parole program for the approximately 2,700 people who were already conditionally approved for parole when the program ended.

Who benefits from the settlement?

CAM applicants who had received a conditional parole decision before August 16, 2017.

  • The best way to know whether you had conditional parole is if you have a copy of a notice from the government with the words NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE on the last or second to last page OR a notice with the words NOTICE OF RESCISSION OF CONDITIONAL APPROVAL dated on or after August 2017.
  • If you don’t have copies of the CAM paperwork that you received from the government, you were likely conditionally approved if you paid for and completed a medical examination (that lasted several hours and involved a urine test) or paid for a flight.

Even if you had conditional parole previously, you may no longer be eligible for processing if:

  • The parent in the U.S. on the application no longer has legal status or may lose legal status as a result of being arrested or convicted of a crime (** the parent should consult a lawyer in this case before taking additional steps);
  • The child on the application is now legally married;
  • The child on the application is no longer in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.

What do I need to do if I benefit from the settlement?

  • Contact IRAP’s hotline at info@menoresCAM.com or (917) 410-7546 for more information.
  • If you are the parent in the U.S., expect to receive a letter from the government in June 2019 with further information to help you benefit from the settlement. If you believe you are eligible for processing, make sure to update your address with the government so that you receive the letter.
  • Begin to gather payment for a medical exam and a flight. Even if you did this before, those steps will need to be completed again for the child to come to the US. The government plans to begin collecting money for medical exams in late August and to begin collecting money for flights in mid-October.
  • Continue to check IRAP’s website at menoresCAM.com for up-to-date information.

Do I qualify for CAM processing? - Frequently Asked Questions

Access the PDF version here.

Settlement in Central American Minors (CAM) Parole Case: Frequently Asked Questions

The International Refugee Assistance Project (“IRAP”) provides free legal help to refugees and displaced
people. IRAP is not part of the U.S. government or IOM. This guide provides general information about
the settlement in S.A. v. Trump, in which IRAP challenged the end of the CAM Parole program. It is not
meant as legal advice for individual applicants.

This information was revised in May 2019. If you believe that you will benefit from the settlement,
please contact info@menoresCAM.com or (917) 410-7546 for more information.

Background on the CAM Parole Program

1. What is the CAM Parole program?

a. The CAM Program allowed children and certain related family members living in
danger in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to reunite with the children’s
parents living in the United States. Under the program, the U.S. government first
decided whether children were eligible for refugee status. If not, the government
considered children on a case by case basis for humanitarian parole, a temporary
status allowing children to enter and temporarily stay in the United States, under
the CAM Parole program.

2. What did it mean to be “conditionally approved” for parole under the CAM Parole
program?

a. If the government decided to grant parole under the CAM Parole program, it issued
a letter to the children stating that they were “conditionally approved.” This meant
that the child and any qualified relatives could travel to the United States once they
completed medical checks, cleared final security checks, and paid for a plane ticket.
This is an example of a letter granting conditional approval for parole.

3. When did the CAM Parole program end?

a. In early 2017, the Trump Administration secretly shut down the CAM Parole
program without informing the public.
b. In August 2017, the Trump Administration officially shut down the CAM Parole
program and revoked conditional approvals for parole from approximately 2,700
children and family members who were in final stages of application processing.

CAM Parole Lawsuit and Settlement

4. I saw the CAM Parole program in the news. What happened?

a. Last year, IRAP and the law firm Arnold & Porter sued the Trump Administration
over its termination of the CAM Parole program.
b. The federal court agreed that the Trump Administration acted unlawfully when it
stopped processing the children and family members with conditional approval for
parole, and the court ordered the government to restart CAM processing for those
people.
c. On April 12, 2019, we entered into an agreement with the government that
guarantees that the government will process the approximately 2,700 people who
had conditional approval for parole as of August 2017.

5. Who is eligible for resumed processing under the settlement?

a. Only CAM applicants who received a conditional parole decision before the CAM
Parole program ended on August 16, 2017 are eligible for processing. This is an
example of a letter granting conditional approval for parole.
b. The settlement does not apply to you if you were in early stages of CAM processing
in August 2017. For example, it does not apply to you if as of August 16, 2017, you
had not yet:

i. Done a pre-screening interview with IOM
ii. Taken a DNA test and received the results
iii. Done an interview with USCIS
iv. Received a decision from USCIS about your application

6. How do I know if I was conditionally approved for parole and had my status revoked?

a. The best way to know for sure is if you have a copy of the letter granting conditional approval for parole. The letter will look like this and it will have the words NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE on the last or second to last page.

b. If you were conditionally approved for parole, you may have gone through
these processing steps (but not all conditionally approved applicants will have
completed all of these steps):

i. You traveled to the capital city of your country multiple times:

1. Once for a pre-screening interview
2. Once for a DNA test
3. Once for an interview with USCIS
4. Once to receive your decision letter and counseling

ii. You received a paper called a Notice of Ineligibility for Refugee Resettlement
that said you were not eligible for refugee resettlement but you were eligible
for conditional parole. This is an example of a letter granting conditional
approval for parole.
iii. You were told you could expect to travel to the United States in a few
months. You may have scheduled or completed medical exams. Your parents
may have paid for plane tickets.
iv. In August 2017 or later, you received a paper saying that your conditional
parole was being revoked and you could request for review of the denial of
your request for refugee status. This is an example of a letter revoking approval for parole.

7. What does being eligible for processing under the settlement mean? Will I be
allowed to enter the US and reunite with my parent?

a. Being eligible for processing means the government has agreed to finish processing
your CAM Parole application using the rules that were in place on January 1, 2017–
before the Trump Administration began shutting the program down.
b. Processing does not guarantee that you will ultimately be able to enter the United
States with parole, but the government has said that it expects the majority of
conditionally approved people to be granted parole and allowed to enter the United
States.

Re-Starting of the CAM Parole Program

8. What do I have to do for processing to re-start?

a. The government has said that it will provide notice to U.S.-based parents and in-country beneficiaries about what you have to do in order to re-start processing your
CAM application.

i. “U.S.-based parents” are the parents living in the United States who
sponsored the CAM parole application.
ii. “In-country beneficiaries” are the qualifying children and other relatives who
are in Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala.

b. The government will start reaching out to U.S.-based parents in June 2019. The government will use the last known contact information that it has on file for the U.S.-based parents. If you are a U.S.-based parent and you have changed your address, phone number, or email address, you may not receive the government’s notice.  Please contact us at info@menoresCAM.com or (917) 410-7546 if you believe you may qualify for processing.

c. The government will start reaching out to in-country beneficiaries in July and August 2019 through the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

9. Before the CAM Parole program ended, I had completed my medical exam. Do I need
to redo the medical exam if I already had it done?

a. Yes. Medical examination results expire after 6 months so all in-country
beneficiaries must redo their medical exams.
b. The government plans to begin collecting money for the exams and scheduling them in late August 2019.

10. Before the CAM Parole program ended, my parents and I had paid for plane tickets.
Do we need to pay for plane tickets again?

a. Yes. Just as before, if in-country beneficiaries successfully complete the other
processing stages, they will be asked to pre-purchase their plane tickets to the
United States.
b. The government plans to begin collecting money for flights in mid-October 2019.

11. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child, and I am more than 21 years old
now?

a. Your age today has no effect on your eligibility for CAM. To be eligible for CAM, your
parent must have filed an application on your behalf (Affidavit of Relationship)
before your 21st birthday.

12. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child, and I have gotten married?

a. If you are a qualifying child and you are legally married, you are no longer eligible
for CAM. If, however, you are a relative of a qualifying child (such as a biological
parent married to a parent in the United States), your marital status does not affect
your eligibility.

13. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child, and I have had a child?

a. Having a child has no effect on your eligibility for CAM. If you have had a child, your
child may be eligible to be added on to your CAM case. If you are granted parole,
your child may also be granted parole into the United States.

14. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child, and I now live somewhere other
than the country where I was born?

a. To be eligible for CAM processing, you must be located in one of the CAM countries
(El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). If you are currently located outside those
countries, you may return to the CAM countries to be processed. If you are located
in CAM country that is not your native country, you may be eligible for CAM
processing in that country. Please contact us for more information at
info@menoresCAM.com or (917) 410-7546.

15. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child, and I have been deported from
the U.S. in the past?

a. Being deported from the United States in the past does not automatically disqualify
you from CAM processing. Prior deportation may, however, be considered by the
government in deciding whether to grant you parole and allow you to travel to the
United States.
b. If you are currently in the United States, you are not eligible for CAM processing; you
must be in El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala to be processed.

16. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child and I no longer want to come to
the U.S.?

a. If you are eligible for the resumption of CAM Parole processing, it is your choice
whether to participate. If you are not interested in coming to the United States, you
do not need to participate in processing.

17. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child and I filed a Request for Review
(RFR) of refugee status that was denied?

a. Having a denied RFR has no effect on your eligibility for resumed CAM Parole
processing. Your RFR challenged the government’s decision to deny you refugee
resettlement in the United States and is separate from your CAM Parole case.

18. What happens if I am an in-country qualifying child and I did not file a Request for
Review (RFR) of refugee status after my CAM parole was rescinded?

a. Not filing an RFR has no effect on your eligibility for resumed CAM Parole
processing. If you had filed an RFR, that would have challenged the government’s
decision to deny you refugee resettlement in the United States; this is separate from
your CAM Parole case.

19. What happens if I’m a U.S.-based parent who filed a CAM application, and I no longer
have legal status in the U.S.?

a. In order for your in-country beneficiaries to be eligible for resumed CAM processing,
the U.S.-based parent who filed the CAM application must be lawfully present in the
United States. Lawful status includes Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Lawful
Permanent Resident Status (LPR), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),
Deferred Action (non-DACA), Deferred Enforced Departure, Withholding of Removal,
and Parolee.

20. What happens if I think I’m eligible for processing, and I’ve changed my address or
other contact information?

a. If you think you’re eligible for resumed CAM Parole processing, please contact IRAP
at info@menoresCAM.com or (917) 410-7546. You will need to provide your
updated information to the government to receive notice of next steps.

Background and Case History

Background:

The CAM program allowed children in danger in Central America to reunite with their parents who were lawfully in the United States. The program began in 2014 in response to increasing numbers of Central American children making the long, dangerous land journey to the U.S. border. The government processed CAM applicants in their home countries, and children and family members who were approved traveled by plane to the United States. CAM applicants could be resettled as refugees or granted temporary humanitarian parole into the United States, and by the end of 2016, approximately 3,000 people had traveled to the United States through CAM.

In August 2017, the Trump Administration shut down the parole portion of the CAM program–even for 2,714 children and family members who had already been conditionally approved by the government and were in final stages of processing (some had already bought plane tickets).

Case History:

If you think you qualify for CAM processing, we want to hear from you! Please email info@menoresCAM.com or call (917) 410-7546.