With a second surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America illegally entering the U.S., there is new chatter about a previously obscure Obama administration program.
“The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program provides certain qualified minors in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains.
The State Department and Department of Homeland Security first announced the program last November, aimed at reunifying children living in the Central American countries with their parents in the U.S.
The CAM program began accepting applications in December of last year.
Parents living in the U.S. must apply for the program on behalf of their minor children living in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.
Parents who qualify for the program include those with permanent resident status, temporary protected status, parole, deferred action, deferred enforced departure, or withholding of removal. The government will also require a DNA test between the child and the parent.
Under the program the children will be considered for refugee status, which would put them on a path to green card, then citizenship as well as make them potentially eligible them for myriad public benefits. If children that don’t qualify as refugees will be considered for parole.
Breitbart News reported on this little-known program in February, highlighting the fact that illegal immigrant parents granted Obama’s executive amnesty are eligible to participate.
Back in February, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, slammed the program as “[o]ne of the President’s most shocking unilateral actions.”
“In effect, the President’s answer to the ongoing run on the border is to order government officials to transport many of those same individuals from Central America into the U.S. with lawful paperwork and guaranteed access to federal benefits,” Sessions said.
The Alabama Republican further highlighted the costs of the program.
“This government-ordered amnesty chain migration will impose enormous costs on federal taxpayers and jobseekers, as those who arrive as refugees will be able to receive automatic federal benefits,” he added. “We must be taking action to reduce the incentive to enter the country illegally. Helping illegal immigrants bring their relatives here as refugees only provides further incentive for illegal immigration.
The State Department says 329 people have applied to the program so far, however none have been approved yet, according to the Washington Post.