In January 2001, a powerful earthquake struck El Salvador. Hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings collapsed forcing many to flee. One of those who fled the devastation was Juan. Juan was granted temporary protected status (TPS) in the United States and resettled in Maryland. At the time, Juan was unable to bring his five children with him. After years of researching options for his family to join him in the United States, a friend recommended that Juan contact the IRC in Silver Spring.  

In 2015, the IRC in Silver Spring helped Juan file a family petition through the Central American Minors (CAM) program. The CAM program allows individuals with certain immigration statuses from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who are residing in the U.S. to apply for their children to be resettled in the U.S. as refugees.  

Then the Trump administration terminated the CAM program in 2017. By this time, only a few of Juan’s children were admitted to the U.S. as refugees. The Biden Administration reauthorized the CAM program and Juan’s family reunification case received new attention. With the support of the IRC in Silver Spring, Juan reunited with the last of his family in the U.S. this year, including a new grandchild!  

Juan and his family
Juan and his family
Photo: Juan, IRC client

Today, several of Juan’s children have applied for green cards and Juan is grateful his family is together in the United States after decades of separation.

“I’m very grateful for the work that the IRC does. I don’t have words to describe the feeling of finally being reunified with my family. I recommend the CAM program to anyone who is in my position.” 

Learn more about the IRC’s family reunification services.