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Biden expands program to reunite Central American minors with parents in U.S.

The Biden administration has expanded its Central American Minors program in order to reunite children with parents legally residing in the United States. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI
The Biden administration has expanded its Central American Minors program in order to reunite children with parents legally residing in the United States. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Biden administration announced Monday that starting Tuesday it will accept new applications to bring minors from Central American countries into the United States as it seeks to expand an Obama-era program that was shuttered under former President Donald Trump.

"We are firmly committed to welcoming people to the United States with humanity and respect, and reuniting families," the Departments of State and Homeland Security said in a joint statement announcing the expansion of the Central American Minors program. "We are delivering on our promise to promote safe, orderly and humane migration from Central America through this expansion of legal pathways to seek humanitarian protection in the United States."

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The Central American Minors program, or CAM, was terminated by Trump in 2017, but was resumed in March amid President Joe Biden's push to undo the immigration policy of his predecessor and a surge of undocumented minors being held at U.S. Border Patrol facilities.

The plan -- which is part of Biden's approach to reduce the strain of irregular migration on the U.S. border -- was to reunite some 3,000 children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras with their parents legally in the United States whose applications were approved but shelved when the program was canceled.

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In June, phase two of the program began with expanding eligibility to allow parents and legal guardians who have pending applications or U visa petitions to apply through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to reunite with their children. However, new applications had not yet been accepted, according to the program's website.

On Monday, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security said new applications will be accepted from Tuesday.

"A greater number of qualifying individuals now have access to this program," the departments said, adding that through last month resettlement support center partners underwent training to support families during the process.

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