In July, the United States announced plans to expand the Central American Minors (CAM) program to allow additional categories of applicants to apply for admission to the United States as a refugee, when accompanied by a qualifying child.
This expansion builds on the in-country refugee/parole program established in 2014 that provides a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are taking to reach the United States. The CAM program protects Central Americans at risk by allowing lawfully present parents in the United States to request refugee status for their children in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala via the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
Effective November 15, 2016, applications for additional eligible family members requesting access will be accepted. The following are the specific new categories of applicants announced in July who may be considered for admission into the United States when accompanied by an unmarried, under 21 qualifying child:
- The children, regardless of age or marital status, of a U.S.-based lawfully present parent;
- The in-country biological parent of a qualifying child that is not legally married to the U.S.-based lawfully present parent; and
- The caregiver of a qualifying child who is related to either the U.S.-based lawfully present parent or the qualifying child.
All of these expanded category relatives must independently establish that they qualify as a refugee.
An in-country biological parent or caregiver of a qualifying child may also be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis, if found ineligible for refugee admission.
Married sons or daughters and/or age 21 or older sons or daughters of a U.S.-based, lawfully present parent who are found ineligible for refugee admission may apply for parole by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document available at https://www.uscis.gov/i-131
DNA relationship testing will also be required for all expanded category relatives.