Settlement may allow 2,700 Central American children to enter U.S.
President Donald Trump and other defendants in his administration agreed to settle a federal lawsuit with families and CASA, a Maryland-based immigration advocacy group, challenging the cancellation of an Obama-era program to allow unaccompanied minor children from Central America to enter the United States.
The settlement announced Friday may allow approximately 2,700 Central American living in the region to reunite with their parents residing legally in the United States.
In 2014, President Barack Obama launched the program to allow unaccompanied minors in Central America to join parents residing legally in the United States after a surge of minors seeking to join their parents. The Central American Minors program allowed minors to apply for permanent residence as refugees or for parole, a designation allowing them to legally reside in the United States.
The program has permitted children to apply in their home countries instead of traveling through dangerous conditions to reach the U.S. border and apply for refugee status.
By 2016, over 1,335 minors arrived in the United States through the CAM program, a court document shows.
Under Trump, the Department of Homeland Security announced in August 2017 it was rescinding parole for approximately 2,700 minors who were conditionally approved to enter the United States, but had not yet traveled to the United States.
A little over a month before the settlement, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler ordered the government to resume processing parole for the minor children who had been conditionally approved. Beeler’s order on March 1 followed her decision in December that the government‘s mass revocation of conditional parole approvals from such minor applicants was illegal.
The International Refugee Assistance Project and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer law firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of the children who were conditionally approved when DHS canceled the program.
“We are delighted to announce this settlement, which will make permanent the preliminary injunction entered by Judge Beeler requiring the government to restore conditional grants of parole under the CAM program,” Daniel Asimow of Arnold and Porter said in a statement.
The IRAP referred to the government‘s agreement to settle as a “historic settlement that may allow approximately 2,700 children living in dangerous conditions in Central America to safely reunite with their parents in the United States,” in a statement.