The Central American Minors Program (CAM) Will Start Again

March 22, 2021

On March 10, 2021, the U.S. government announced that it will restart the Central American Minors Program, or CAM. The Trump administration had paused the program in 2017.

For more information about the CAM program, you can call the CAM hotline operated by the International Rescue Committee: (917) 410-7546 and leave a voicemail. You can also visit this website from the International Refugee Assistance Project to learn more about CAM.

What is CAM?

CAM allows certain minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to apply for refugee status from their home countries and receive permission to enter the United States.

Who is eligible for CAM?

We still do not know how the CAM program will function. Before, when the program was active, CAM was only available to unmarried youth under the age of 21 who also had to have at least one parent in the U.S. with certain types of immigration status.

What immigration statuses made parents eligible for CAM?

Previously, parents with the following types of immigration status were eligible to apply for their children under CAM:

  1. Permanent Residency
  2. Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  3. Parole
  4. Deferred Action
  5. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
  6. Suspension of Deportation

I am an asylum applicant. Can I bring my child under CAM?

When the program was previously active, asylum applicants were not eligible to bring their children under CAM.

However, the government is now evaluating CAM and may change how the program will function in the future. We will keep an eye on updates about CAM and inform you as they are announced!

How will restarting CAM work?

There will be two phases to restart the program. First, applications that were submitted but never decided prior to the program’s pause paused in 2017 will be processed.

Second, the government will accept new applications under the program. We are still waiting for more information about what the process for new applications will look like, but we will note that previously, the CAM application process was somewhat difficult.

The information about this program is still developing. We will stay on top of updates and inform you about any news. For now, you can read more about the restarting of CAM here. You can also read this article about the announcement.

For more information and resources from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) visit our website.

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