New York, NY, August 18, 2017 — Said Jennifer Sime, senior vice president of United States Programs at the International Rescue Committee:
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is proud to assist parents reunite with their children through the U.S. Department of State Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee and Parole Program. Since December 1, 2014, parents lawfully in the United States have been able to bring their minor children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador who are living in danger from pervasive violence and constant fear. Many of these children have been able to avoid a dangerous journey by seeking safety in the United States via the CAM program, and have begun new lives here with refugee status protected under international law or under the protections provided by this nation on humanitarian grounds as parolees. These children are no longer separated from their parents due to conflict and unrest, and are able to attend school and have a childhood free from violence. This has saved children’s lives and kept families together.
On August 16, 2017, the U.S. government announced an end to the automatic parole option for these children. Children who had already received conditional approval to come to the United States to join their parents will be notified that this approval is being rescinded. This action will tear apart families who have been waiting anxiously to bring their children home to safety, and runs counter to this nation’s core values. Ending this life saving parole program also raises questions about the fates of children who have already laid roots in American communities and whose futures are now uncertain. The IRC urges the administration to prioritize protection and family unity and reconsider this inhumane policy change.