The Biden administration stated on Monday that it will begin accepting new applications for minors from Central American countries to enter the United States on Tuesday, hoping to expand an Obama-era program that was shut down by former President Donald Trump.
“We are firmly committed to welcoming people to the United States with humanity and respect, and reuniting families,” the Departments of State and Homeland Security said in a joint statement announcing the expansion of the Central American Minors program. “We are delivering on our promise to promote safe, orderly and humane migration from Central America through this expansion of legal pathways to seek humanitarian protection in the United States.”
The Central American Youngsters program, or CAM, was cancelled by Trump in 2017, but was reinstated in March in response to President Joe Biden’s push to reverse his predecessor’s immigration policy and a spike of undocumented minors being held at US Border Patrol facilities.
The idea was to reconnect 3,000 children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with their legal parents in the United States whose applications had been granted but shelved when the program was stopped, as part of Biden’s attempt to alleviate the burden of irregular migration on the U.S. border.
Phase two of the program began in June, with the goal of allowing parents and legal guardians who have pending applications or U visa petitions to reunite with their children through the US Refugee Admissions Program. According to the program’s website, however, fresh applications have not yet been accepted.
The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security said on Monday that fresh applications will be accepted beginning Tuesday.
“A greater number of qualifying individuals now have access to this program,” the departments said, adding that through last month resettlement support center partners underwent training to support families during the process.