Immigration Newsletter

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In-Country Refugee/Parole Processing for Minors in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (Central American Minors – CAM) | USCIS

In-Country Refugee/Parole Processing for Minors in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (Central American Minors – CAM) | USCIS



ntroduction
The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program provides certain qualified minors in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States.
The CAM program began accepting applications from qualifying parents in the U.S. for their children on December 1, 2014. The qualifying parent is the U.S.-based parent who may complete the application. Only certain parents, described below, are eligible to be qualifying parents and file for their children. Each qualified child must be unmarried, under the age of 21, and residing in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras. In certain cases, the parent of the qualifying child  may also qualify for access if the parent is the spouse of the qualifying parent. See below for eligibility details.
Eligibility
Qualifying Child
The qualifying child in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras must be:
  • The child of the qualifying parent per the Immigration and Nationality Act (biological, step, or legally adopted);
  • Unmarried;
  • Under the age of 21;
  • A national of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras; and
  • Residing in his or her country of nationality.
Eligible Family Members
In some cases, other eligible family members may have access, including:
  • Unmarried children of the qualifying child who are under the age of 21 can be included as derivatives.
Parent of Qualifying Child Who is not the Qualifying Parent
This program is primarily aimed at minors, but a parent of the qualifying child may be included if:
  • He/she is part of the same household and economic unit as the qualifying child,
  • He/she is legally married to the qualifying parent at the time the qualifying parent files the CAM-Affidavit of Relationship (AOR), and
  • He/she continues to be legally married to the qualifying parent.
Qualifying Parent
The qualifying parent may be any individual who is at least 18 years old and lawfully present in the United States in one of the following categories:
  • Permanent Resident Status, or
  • Temporary Protected Status, or
  • Parolee, or
  • Deferred Action
  • Deferred Enforced Departure, or
  • Withholding of Removal
Deferred Action
Parolees and persons granted deferred action must have been issued parole or deferred action for a minimum of one year. For all other categories listed above, individuals who are lawfully present and in a valid status at the time of application (this means the date of CAM-Affidavit of Relationship filing) are eligible.
Application Process
There is no filing deadline for this program, but the qualifying parent must be in one of the current statuses listed above at the time of applying for this program, as well as at the time of admission or parole of the beneficiary of this program.
The qualifying parent in the U.S. files Form DS-7699 Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) for Minors Who Are Nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (CAM-AOR). This form can only be accessed and completed with the assistance of a designated resettlement agency (RA). For additional information and a listing of resettlement agencies where the CAM-AOR may be filed please visit the Department of State, Refugee Processing Center’s website.
There is no fee to participate in this refugee/parole program and it is prohibited for anyone to charge a fee for completion of the form.
DNA Testing
DNA relationship testing must occur between the qualifying parent in the U.S. and his/her biological children. The parent in the U.S. will pay the initial costs of DNA testing and will be reimbursed for testing costs ONLY if ALL claimed and tested biological relationships are confirmed by DNA test results.
Refugee Status
Refugee status is a form of protection available to those who meet the definition of refugee and who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States. For a legal definition of refugee, see section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Both the qualifying child and the in-country parent of the qualifying child must  establish an independent refugee claim to be granted refugee status.
Eligibility for refugee status is determined on a case-by-case basis through an interview with a specially-trained USCIS officer.
Applicants who gain  access to the program, but are found ineligible for refugee status will be considered on a case-by-case basis for parole into the United States.
For more information about refugees, see the “Refugees” section of our website.
Parole
Parole allows individuals who may be otherwise inadmissible to come to the U.S. on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.  A separate application for this process is not required.
An applicant found conditionally eligible for parole is subject to the following additional requirements:
  • Medical Clearance and Costs: All applicants for parole will be required to obtain and pay for medical clearance.
  • Travel Arrangements and Costs: An individual who is authorized parole must book his or her travel through an approved USCIS process and pay for the flight to the United States.
USCIS will be updating the CAM webpage to provide updated information on Parole as part of the CAM Program. Please check back periodically to view this updated information.
 Drew Law Office, PLLC -- Immigration Lawyers Metro Manchester NH (603) 644-3739 or www.immigrationNH.com