The International Rescue Committee (IRC) today denounces the administration’s directive to shut down the Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee and Parole Program in little more than 24 hours. While the IRC and other resettlement and aid organizations anticipated the cancellation, the short window to finalize in-progress applications amounts to a cruel willingness to interfere with parents who seek safety for their young children.

The CAM Refugee and Parole Program allowed parents lawfully in the United States to bring their minor children from the Northern Triangle of Central America - Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador - who are living in danger from pervasive violence and constant fear. While the Administration announced earlier this year this program would be cancelled, the closure of the program was dictated at 8:00pm last night, with a deadline for applications at 11:59pm tonight.

Said Hans Van de Weerd, Vice President, U.S. Programs – 

“The notion that this Administration would wield swift deadlines to sabotage the reunification of parents lawfully in the United States, and their young children, is particularly brutal – even in light of a year of cruelty toward refugees, like these minors, and immigrants.

It would do the administration good to grasp that these children are fleeing extremely violent situations in the Northern Triangle—and this decision now subjects even more young children at high risk of being trafficked, brutally mistreated, or even death. This deadline’s intention appears to spare as few children as possible.”

As of this statement, the IRC is working with urgency to file or re-file parents’ applications prior to tonight’s deadline. The IRC stands for family unity and believes that parents should be with their children. IRC will continue to advocate for a humane treatment of young Central American children, who are now being deliberately placed at high risk of violence, and even death.