News & Resources

Court Finds That the Mass Rescission of Humanitarian Parole for Central American Children Was Unlawful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

December 10, 2018


Henrike Dessaules, IRAP,, 646.459.3081

Nicole Houston, Arnold & Porter,, 202-942-6418


(San Francisco, CA) – Today, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler issued a decision denying in part the government’s motion to dismiss a challenge to the Trump Administration’s unexplained termination of the Central American Minors (CAM) parole program. In deciding the government’s motion, the judge found that the Trump Administration’s mass rescission of parole from the Central American children who had already been conditionally approved to travel to the United States was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Plaintiffs challenged the Administration’s secret, chaotic, and unprecedented termination of the Central American Minors (CAM) parole program, a humanitarian program that allowed children in danger in Central America to safely reunite with their parents who are lawfully present in the United States. This decision means that the lawsuit will continue and the Judge will be deciding plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction seeking that the mass rescission be vacated.

In the decision, Judge Beeler also dismissed the remainder of the claims in Plaintiffs’ lawsuit.

S.A. v. Trump was brought by 12 applicants and beneficiaries of the CAM parole program, as well as the organization CASA de Maryland. The proposed plaintiff class includes about 3,000 children and family members who were conditionally approved to travel to the United States, some of whom were on the verge of travel and had already purchased plane tickets. The plaintiffs are represented by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center and Arnold & Porter.

In response to the ruling, the counsel and plaintiffs issued the following statements:

Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA: “The CAM program was a humanitarian response to an acute crisis.  We are relieved that the Court has recognized the government’s legal violation, which has caused lasting harm to families confronting violence.”

Linda Evarts, Litigation Staff Attorney, IRAP: “The Trump Administration has pulled the rug out from under vulnerable children and their parents who spent years and thousands of dollars complying with every step of the government’s CAM application process. The Administration’s actions show that it is committed to preventing Central Americans fleeing danger from entering this country, even if they follow all the rules and try to enter lawfully. Today’s ruling is an important first step to providing needed relief to children and parents seeking to reunite with each other in safety.”

Daniel Asimow, Partner, Arnold & Porter: “We are very pleased that the Court recognized the serious reliance interests of the thousands of children and family members who had received conditional grants of parole. These individuals trusted the Government’s pronouncements and ordered their lives based on the Government’s statements that they would be permitted to travel to the United States and reunite with their parents and other relatives. The Court correctly found that the Government’s failure to even consider this reliance interest was arbitrary and capricious.”

The text of the order can be found here.

To view the press release, click here.

International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center