Central American Minors (CAM) Program Will Allow More People to Bring their Children to the United States

Last updated on June 29, 2021

For an update on the CAM program, please see this post.

Good news: On June 15, 2021, the Biden administration announced that the Central American Minors (CAM) program will be expanded. The CAM program allows some people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are already in the United States to apply for their children to join them.

Who can apply for CAM now?

If you are a parent or legal guardian and you have unmarried children younger than 21 years old who are currently located in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras, you may be able to apply for your children to join you in the United States.

You may be able to apply for CAM for your children if you are in the United States and have one of these types of immigration case:

  • a pending asylum application
  • a pending U visa petition filed before May 15, 2021
  • lawful permanent residence
  • temporary protected status (TPS)
  • parole
  • deferred action (a protection from deportation that is not permanent, like DACA)
  • deferred enforced departure (DED)
  • withholding of removal

Note: If you already won asylum, then you can apply for your children (and spouse) to come to the U.S. using a different process, and it does not matter what country you or your family are from . You can read more about that process here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-730.

How has the CAM program changed over time?

The CAM program began in 2014. However, the Trump administration ended the program in 2017. On March 10, 2021, the Biden administration started processing CAM applications that had been left unanswered by the Trump administration. Then, on June 15, 2021, the Biden Administration expanded the program to include legal guardians, instead of only parents. They also expanded the program to include people who have filed asylum applications and U visa applications.

What can I do if I think I might be able to apply for CAM on behalf of my children? 

It will be important to keep your eye on the news, because the government will announce when it will start accepting new CAM applications. Here is a visual guide from another organization that may help you understand more about how the CAM process works.  It may be helpful to speak to a trusted attorney or non-profit legal services organization. Find out how to seek legal assistance here. Read news about the expansion of the CAM program here. The immigration agency’s webpage on CAM is here.

Note: This information is for individuals seeking asylum in the United States and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.