Credit: Kate Gardiner / Flickr
Credit: Kate Gardiner / Flickr

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ended the Central American Minors (CAM) Parole Program. The Federal Register notice stated that DHS, “will no longer provide special consideration of parole for certain individuals denied refugee status in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras under the CAM Parole Program.”

This special parole consideration was given on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security for urgent humanitarian reasons. It has served as a safety net for thousands of children who were denied refugee status under the CAM Refugee Program.

In 2014 the U.S. Government recognized that children were fleeing their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to escape gang violence, gang recruitment and horrific violent crimes against women and young girls.  This program was created in response to the surge in these migrant children and helped to create a legal pathway for those who qualified.

By ending this program the Trump Administration is revoking more than 2,500 conditional offers that have been made to Central American children and family members who have not yet left their countries. These children, who have risked their lives by simply applying for refugee status, are now in danger of retribution. Rescinding this pathway to safety will force families and children to seek help from those who would prey on their vulnerability. This is in direct contradiction to the Trump Administration’s stated goal of protecting kids from human smuggling and trafficking.

This decision along with other recent immigration decisions by the Trump Administration, including the attack on sponsors of unaccompanied minors, does not reflect a commitment to protecting children and strengthening families. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program also faces uncertainty as President Trump has not stated definitively if he will continue the program after September 5th of this year. Bipartisan members of Congress introduced the Dream Act of 2017 in response to this threat.

With children of immigrants being the fastest growing segment of the U.S. child population, it is in our best interest as a country to implement policies that will ensure that all our children have the ability to achieve their full potential.

To read more about Protecting Refugee Children from Central America click here

Click here to read the official statement from Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

Click here for the Dream Act of 2017 Fact Sheet