Barack Obama illegally expanded the US Refugee Admissions Program a few years ago with his Central American Minors Program (CAM) which allowed Central American parents (from 3 countries) already in the US to get their kids to America by claiming they are refugees. Obama said it would stem the illegal border invasion by ‘children.’ (Begging the question—so how could these parents simply leave their kids behind in the first place!)
Technically to be a refugee one must prove that one is persecuted for one of several reasons (religion, race, political persuasion, etc.) and that the person (the wannabe refugee) has left his country and would be harmed if returned. This is a very large hurdle for kids who are still in their country of origin and who are mostly economically challenged and not truly persecuted. So Obama bent the law further by allowing them to be paroled in to the US.
Trump has now dumped the parole option. If the kid can meet the refugee standards, presumably he/she can still get here.
From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday it plans to shut down a program that offered some children and young adults from three Central Amercian countries a chance to lawfully immigrate to the U.S. to join their parents.
The decision will close down a portion of the Central American Minors program, established in 2014 under President Obama as a way to slow the stream of minors from strife-torn Central American countries.
The program allows unmarried youths under 21 years old from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who had one parent who had lawful status in the U.S. to apply for refugee status, from their home country.
If the refugee status was denied. they could still be allowed into the U.S. under humanitarian parole, a way to legally be in the country that is not permanent but must be renewed periodically.
In an announcement to be published in the Federal Register today DHS said that it was terminating the humanitarian parole part of the CAM program.
Children and young adults can still seek refugee status , but if that is denied the parole option will no longer be available.
No reason was given for the change to the program, though the administration of President Donald Trump has made both choking off the flow of youths and families from Central America and tightening the legal immigration avenues a priority as part of its overall crackdown on immigration.
The program began in 2014, and in late 2016 it was expanded to allow additional family members to apply. But that expansion came late in the Obama presidency and because of the length of time it takes to review, investigate and approve an application no one has been admitted under the expanded rules.
Earlier this year the State Department said 11,000 people had applied to the program and 2,400 had been admitted. Another 2,700 individuals had been granted conditional parole but had not yet traveled to the U.S., according to Lisa Frydman with the Kids In Need Of Defense, an advocacy group in San Francisco.
The announcement said that those conditional approvals are now rescinded.
What might you do today? Contact the White House and thank the president for doing this, and tell him to dump the whole program. It is Congress’s job to write laws about who is and who isn’t a refugee.
By the way, much of the cost of the UACs in that graph above is because some of our usual contractors are being paid to care for the kids!