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Restarting the Central American Minors Program


U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary processing center in Donna, Texas

The Biden-Harris Administration is determined to build a better immigration system that reflects the values of the United States, enforces the law, safeguards public health, promotes human rights, and moves away from cycles of irregular migration.

Restarting the Central American Minors Program
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The Biden-Harris Administration is determined to build a better immigration system that reflects the values of the United States, enforces the law, safeguards public health, promotes human rights, and moves away from cycles of irregular migration.

That was the message Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Southern Border, articulated at a recent White House briefing.

One concrete step in implementing the administration’s new comprehensive regional migration management strategy system is restarting the Central American Minors program, or CAM. Under this program between 2014 and 2017, nearly 5,000 vulnerable children in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala were reunited safely and securely with their parents who were lawfully present in the United States.

Now the United States has initiated the first phase of reinstituting CAM, by reopening applications that were suspended when the program was terminated in 2017. Plans are currently being developed to expand and accept new applications, as an important step to enlarging the pathways for humanitarian protection and opportunity in the United States.

Ambassador Jacobson emphasized, however, that contrary to the false messages being peddled by smugglers, restarting CAM does not mean the southern border of the United States is now open:

“I want to be clear: neither this announcement nor any of the other measures suggest that anyone, especially children and families with young children, should make the dangerous trip to try and enter the U.S. in an irregular fashion. The border is not open. Going forward, we will continue to look for ways to provide legal avenues in the region for people needing protection, while we continue to enforce our laws. This is a process.”

A process “to advance a new vision of immigration” that will continue, said Ambassador Jacobson: “It reflects who we are as Americans, putting our values at the center of our policy.”

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