No, Biden Should Not Continue the Central American Minors Program

On January 28, eight attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to halt its continued use of the Central American Minors (CAM) program. This immigration initiative, created by the Obama administration in 2014, allows certain lawfully present nationals from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to petition to bring their children into the U.S. as refugees.

CAM was formed as a safer alternative for Central American minors unlawfully migrating to the southern border, as recipients are provided air travel by the U.S. government. Under CAM, children who are not eligible for refugee status can be paroled into the U.S., allowing beneficiaries to live in the country lawfully and apply for work authorization. However, this program poses numerous issues.

According to the complaint filed by the attorneys general, CAM is unlawful. The complaint said, “To the extent that it provides benefits outside of those provided in by the Refugee Admissions Program, the CAM Program is an unlawful artifice of the Biden administration’s imagination, never authorized by Congress.” It continued, “The CAM program is illegal. The Biden administration created it without consideration of the effects it will have on the Plaintiff States and the continuing crisis along the Southwest border.”

In 2017, President Trump terminated CAM, only for President Biden to revive the faulty program last July.

Aside from lawful permanent residents, a foreign national can petition to bring their children to the U.S. if they are in one of the following categories:

  • Temporary Protected Status;
  • Parole;
  • Deferred action;
  • Deferred Enforced Departure;
  • Withholding of Removal;
  • With a pending asylum application filed before May 15, 2021; or
  • With a pending U visa petition filed before May 15, 2021.

While potential applicants in the above categories may currently hold protection from deportation, they still entered the country illegally. Put simply, illegal aliens who violate our immigration laws and get away with it can have their family members skip the line and come into the U.S through CAM. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who have patiently waited to bring a relative into the country lawfully have been pushed to the back of the line to prioritize the families of illegal aliens enrolled in CAM.

Additionally, American taxpayers foot the bill for the costs associated with the program, such as medical exams and travel arrangements to the U.S. Moreover, CAM recipients will be eligible to apply for welfare and other social programs once they are in the U.S., exacerbating the costs of these migrants into the country.

CAM does not serve the interests of the American people. The Biden administration is allowing another magnet for illegal immigration by permitting this program to resume indefinitely. Unless this unlawful scheme is halted, our immigration crisis will get even worse than it already is.

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