Only on 9: Enrollment for Central American Minors program reopens, White House officials say

El Paso News

Mexican immigration agents detain Central American migrants who are part of a caravan heading north in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Biden administration is rolling out the application process for the Central American Minors (CAM) program that seeks to reunite migrant children with parents or legal guardians in the U.S.

On Monday, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security announced the CAM application has been approved, and new applications will be accepted starting on Tuesday. 

The White House says the reopening of the CAM program, coupled with eligibility expansion components of Biden’s multi-pronged approach to address the challenges of irregular migration through North and Central America will help address the root causes of migration at its source.

KTSM 9 News spoke with senior administration officials on background who said CAM will also provide legal pathways for citizenship, while also strengthening collaborative migration management that aligns with other pillars of the Biden administration’s approach to address migration.

“Our goal is to help families and children stay at home by addressing the factors that push them to make a difficult decision to leave and rebuild our asylum system to deter irregular migration,” officials tell KTSM. 

Starting on Tuesday, the CAM application will be available through domestic resettlement agencies and their affiliate offices in the U.S.

Officials say a greater number of qualifying individuals now have access to this program. Eligibility to petition will now be extended to include legal guardians (in addition to parents) who are in the United States, pursuant to any of the following qualifying categories: lawful permanent residence; temporary protected status; parole; deferred action; deferred enforced departure; or withholding of removal. 

Moreover, this expansion of eligibility will now include certain U.S.-based parents or legal guardians who have a pending asylum application or a pending U visa petition filed before May 15, 2021. 

“It’s important to note that qualifying children cannot access the program from Mexico or the U.S. southern border,” administration officials emphasize.

“The CAM expansion is to allow children to apply from home rather than take on a dangerous irregular migration journey,” said officials, “and we continue to discourage anybody who’s continuing attempts at irregular migration into the U.S.” 

“We also remind that the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic under Title 42 remain in effect,” they add.

For more information on Central American minors, click here; for our complete coverage on immigration, click here.

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