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US State Department Ends Program for Central American Minors Fleeing Violence

VOA News
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November 10, 2017
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Children on the Run in Central America (UNHCR)

The U.S. State Department says it will no longer accept new applications for a program that allowed minors fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to settle in the United States.

In a media note issued Wednesday, the department abruptly announced that no new applications to the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program would be accepted after midnight EST November 9.

The Department of Homeland Security had announced in mid-August it was going to end the program.

"But then that communication was walked back, and no official announcement was released," said Kay Bellor, vice president for programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a resettlement organization. Wednesday's note was "the official announcement of the program's closure."

The CAM program was started in 2014 under former President Barack Obama as a response to the arrival at the U.S.-Mexico border of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America seeking entry into the United States.

It allowed parents who were lawfully in the U.S. to bring in minor children from the violence-ridden Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Under the program, children under 21 who had parents lawfully living in the United States could apply for a refugee resettlement interview before making the journey to the United States.

Nearly 3,000 children have come through the CAM program, and thousands of others were in the midst of applying.

Read the rest at VOA News


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