Programa de Refugiados y Libertad Condicional para Menores Centroamericanos (CAM)
CAM's refugee and parole program provides certain qualified children who are nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, as well as certain family members of those children, the opportunity to apply for refugee status and a possible resettlement in the United States. Only certain parents or legal guardians who are lawfully present in the United States and who are at least 18 years of age, may request access to the program for those children who qualify for it. To be eligible, a child must be unmarried, under 21 years of age, and a national of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras. In some cases, a parent in the country of a child who qualifies for this program may also qualify for it. The children of a child who qualifies for this program, or of other eligible family members, may also qualify if those children are under 21 and unmarried.
If you receive access to the CAM program, but are found ineligible for refugee status, you are considered for parole. Parole does not lead to permanent immigration status, but it does allow you to legally enter and live temporarily in the United States and apply for work authorization. Generally, the Authorities approve parole under CAM for a period of three years. The United States Customs and Border Protection makes the final determination at the port of entry on whether or not a person should be paroled into the United States.
The CAM program was established in 2014. On August 16, 2017, USCIS published a Federal Register notice announcing the termination of the parole portion of the CAM program. As part of the review of the United States Refugee Admissions Program for fiscal year 2018, the CAM program was terminated. On November 9, 2017, the Department of State (DOS) stopped accepting new submissions of Form DS-7699, Affidavit of Relationship for Minors Who Are Nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (AOR), and on January 31 2018, USCIS stopped interviewing new CAM cases but continued to process cases from people they interviewed before that date.
On March 10, 2021, the US Department of State announced the reopening of the CAM program in two phases. Phase One began in March 2021 and focuses on reopening and processing eligible individuals with processes that were closed when the program ended in 2018. During Phase One, DOS is not accepting new petitioners. National resettlement agencies are contacting parents who previously filed a petition to verify eligibility and determine if they wish to reopen the case.
On June 15, 2021, the Departments of State and Homeland Security jointly announced the details of Phase Two of the reopening. Beginning in Phase Two, eligibility for the petition will be expanded to include legal guardians (other than parents) who are in the United States under any of the following categories: Lawful permanent residence; Temporary Protected Status; Conditional freedom; Delayed action; Deferred forced departure; o Withholding of removal. In addition, this expansion of petition eligibility will now include certain US-based parents or legal guardians who have a pending asylum application or a pending U-visa petition filed before May 15, 2021.
If a person was previously paroled into the United States under the old CAM program and the period granted has expired or is about to expire, they must apply for a Request for Re-Parole (to obtain a new period of parole) under the restarted CAM program. If you are interested in applying for a qualifying family member through the CAM program, please contact a national Resettlement Agency. DNA relationship testing is required between individuals who affirm a biological parent-child relationship. If the authorities determine that you may be a refugee through this program, you will undergo a medical examination. If you are approved to travel, you will receive cultural orientation and assistance with travel arrangements to the city where your US-based qualifying parent resides. If you receive access to the program, but the Authorities find you ineligible for refugee status, they will consider on a case-by-case basis whether to parole you into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. When considering parole, you may be required to submit additional information or documentation. This may include, but is not limited to, a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support and supporting evidence for certain qualifying adult and married family members, guardians or caretakers to ensure they have a means of support if released parole in the United States.
There is no fee to apply for this program, and no one can charge a fee to complete the form. CAM applicants may be authorized for three years of probation. Parole determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, depending on each individual's unique circumstances. Parole does not provide immigration status, but it does allow you to be lawfully present in the United States temporarily and apply for a work permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
If you applied for the CAM program and are paroled into the United States, consult the Dyer Immigration Law Group to assist you in applying for your work permit. Our bilingual immigration lawyers will be able to advise you in Spanish and provide you with the necessary legal services to complete the application process for your Employment Authorization Document before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Dyer Immigration Law Group's legal services fee for this service is $350 and the applicable government fee is $410.