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The International Refugee Assistance Project (“IRAP”) provides free legal assistance to refugees and displaced persons. IRAP is not part of the US government or IOM. This guide provides general information and is not intended to be legal advice for individual applicants.
The Central American Minors (CAM) program is a legal pathway through which children and other family members facing persecution or danger in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras can reunite with parents who are lawfully present in the United States.
When President Trump ended a part of the CAM program in August 2017, IRAP sued and won an agreement that the U.S. government would re-open applications that were at final stages of processing (“court settlement”). In March 2021, President Biden announced the re-opening of the CAM program.Click here for information about the lawsuit. Government reports on settlement processing are under “court documents.”
The International Rescue Committee (“IRC”) operates the CAM Hotline in collaboration with IRAP to answer general questions from families in the CAM program. Please note that the CAM Hotline cannot give legal advice and you must leave a message to get a call back.
- How can I reunite with my family through the Central American Minors (CAM) parole and refugee program?
- I applied for CAM in the past, but my application was closed when President Trump ended the CAM program.
Latest Updates on CAM Application Processing
Last updated June 2022
- Legal Challenge to CAM: Texas and 14 other states filed a lawsuit in federal court in early 2022 that challenges the CAM Program, arguing that the Biden Administration did not follow the proper procedures when it reopened the program. **This lawsuit does not currently have any impact on CAM processing, and families can continue to file CAM applications and CAM re-parole applications.**
- IRAP moved to intervene in the Texas case on behalf of several CAM applicant parents, and the Texas court has allowed two of the CAM parents to intervene and defend the CAM Program against the states’ legal attack. You can read more about that case here.
- Article about the legal challenge to CAM: The Texas Tribune published an article about the legal challenge to CAM and a mother’s efforts to reunite with her child through the program.
- CAM Restart: The government announced that it is now accepting new applications for the CAM program beginning on September 14, 2021! See the Department of State’s official statement here and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official CAM page here.
- The government announced that people who came to the United States on CAM parole and did not apply to renew their parole period because the program had ended can now apply to renew if they stayed here without immigration status. This is called asking for re-parole. See the government’s instructions on how to ask for re-parole.
- On June 15, 2021, the government announced that it expanded eligibility to include certain U.S. based parents or legal guardians who have pending asylum applications or pending U visa petitions filed before May 15, 2021. See the government’s official statement here.
- Impact of COVID-19 on CAM processing:
- All CAM families traveling to the United States must be tested for COVID-19 before arrival. Those who report symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 will face delays in medical examinations or travel to the United States.
For additional information and help, see these resources:
Adelante, CIMITRA: The Centro de integración para migrantes, trabajadores y trabajadoras (CIMITRA) is a San Salvador-based non-governmental organization. CIMITRA is workinging with IRAP to provide information and support to families in Central America to help them navigate the CAM process.
- Tel: +503 2519 5528
- WhatsApp: +503 7641 3065
- Website: adelantecimitra.org
Resettlement agencies: Resettlement agencies help families file CAM applications. Find your local resettlement agency here by clicking on “R&P Affiliate Directory.”
Community resources: Please see USAHello for resources in your region.
IRAP has put together community resources for CAM parolees in several regions of the United States. Please note that these guides are in English.