Termination of immigration program for minors escaping violence in Central America sparks lawsuit

By Charmaine Little | Jun 25, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – President Donald Trump is facing a lawsuit by families impacted by the termination of the parole portion of the Central American Minors (CAM) program.

SAN FRANCISCO – President Donald Trump is facing a lawsuit by families impacted by the termination of the parole portion of the Central American Minors (CAM) program.

The suit was filed June 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by several plaintiffs who claimed their family members’ parole status was rescinded following the termination of the CAM parole program. Nonprofit advocacy and assistance organization, CASA, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit as it assisted 235 of its members in their applications for CAM.

The suit also names the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

The plaintiffs stated that ending the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Fifth Amendment concerning due process and equal protection. The plaintiffs also pleaded equitable estoppel.

The program in question was created in 2014 amid minors escaping El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to the U.S. without adults. The CAM program was a legal way for parents living in the U.S. to bring their children to the country as refugees or parolees if they were eligible.

The lawsuit states Trump’s administration began the process of ending the CAM parole program shortly after he was sworn into office. It caused a huge impact when the temporary green light for the parole status of almost 3,000 children was reversed in August 2017. The plaintiffs’ families were a number of the 3,000 whose temporary parole statuses were revoked after spending thousands of dollars in hopes of reuniting with their family.

“Meanwhile, the life-threatening conditions of the Central American countries that led to the creation of the CAM program have not abated,” the lawsuit said, pointing out Trump’s administration was no longer accepting Central American refugees.

The lawsuit accused Trump’s administration of using its alleged racial attitude toward Latinos as the primary reason for terminating the CAM parole program. The plaintiffs used Trump’s quote that Latin America was sending over “rapists” and “bringing crime,” as evidence of this argument.

They added the shutdown of the program only resulted in more injury for parents who desired to reunite with their children that they believed were in great danger in Central America.

The suit requests a declaration that the termination of the program was illegal, the rescission of the parole approvals be set aside, the defendants be enjoined and restrained from repeating the same actions, the defendants be ordered to reinstate the conditional approval that was already in place before the program ended, the defendants be ordered to complete the process of cases that were conditionally approved and the plaintiffs be certified as a class action. The suit also seeks attorney’s fees and legal costs.

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