Senate Panel Convenes Hearing On Obama Program To Fly Central American Youths To U.S.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) grilled attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch on immigration during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee January 28, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

A Senate panel will look into a new Obama administration program to fly the Central American children of lawfully present parents— including amnestied illegal immigrants — to the United States.

Thursday afternoon the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest will hear testimony on the program in a hearing titled “Eroding the Law and Diverting Taxpayer Resources: An Examination of the Administration’s Central American Minors Refugee/Parole 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 administration argues the program is intended to discourage Central American children from making the dangerous trek northward to be reunified in the U.S. with their parents by, instead, offering a safe, orderly process.

Critics of the program — such as subcommittee Chairman Jeff Sessions (R-AL) — argue that it’s “[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 earlier this year.

The hearing’s description further highlights the cost of the program.

“Once granted refugee status, an individual has open access to federal welfare, work permits, and the ability to receive a green card and citizenship. The Administration has also stated that it plans to ‘parole’ such individuals into the United States as well, further contravening law,” the hearing announcement reads.

USCIS’s Associate Director for Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Joseph E. Langlois and the State Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw are slated to testify before the subcommittee.

On a second panel, Temple University Professor Jan C. Ting, Migration Policy Institute fellow Doris Meissner, Former DHS official Igor Timofeyev, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops representative Anastasia Brown, and Center for Immigration Studies expert Jessica Vaughan will also testify.


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