The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department on Tuesday announced that they have expanded the Obama-era Central American Minors program. Getty Images
The Biden administration this week changed immigration policies to allow children from Central American countries to fly to the US on the taxpayers’ dime, and will allow migrants to seek asylum if they claim they are the victims of violence or crime — actions that come amid the backdrop of a record-smashing surge of migrants arriving at the border.
The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department on Tuesday announced that they have expanded the Obama-era Central American Minors program that allows children under 21 from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador with pending asylum claims to fly to the US to be reunited with a family member.
It also adds to the number of “qualifying individuals” — parents and legal guardians — who can petition for their children to be brought to the US while their claims are being processed, including those with pending asylum claims or those who have temporary protected status. Biden has expanded President Barack Obama’s migrant program.AP
The program, which the Trump administration ended in 2017, would open another pathway and substantially increase the number of child migrants coming to the US.
“These new changes will dramatically expand access to the CAM program,” a statement signed by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “We are firmly committed to welcoming people to the United States with humanity and respect, as well as providing a legal alternative to irregular migration. 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.”
About 40 percent of the unaccompanied children who crossed the border this year came to reunite with a parent.
The change immigration policies will allow children from Central American countries to fly to the US.Getty Images
About 40 percent of the unaccompanied children who crossed the border this year came to reunite with a parent.AP
Under the expanded program, almost all of them would qualify, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing administration officials.
“The Central American Minors program is a continuation of President Biden’s open borders policies to allow anyone in the world to come to the United States regardless of the effects on mass illegal immigration,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told the newspaper.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated two rulings from the Trump administration about who qualifies for asylum, extending protections to women fleeing domestic violence or families threatened by gang violence.
“These decisions involve important questions about the meaning of our Nation’s asylum laws, which reflect America’s commitment to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta wrote in a memo to the country’s immigration judges, NPR reported.
Garland said immigration judges should ignore the rulings from former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions and revert to previous precedent.
In 2018, Sessions issued an order making it more difficult for women to seek asylum based on claims of domestic violence, saying they weren’t part of a “particular social group” who are victims of persecution.
Barr in 2019 limited whether family is considered a “particular social group.”
A former Trump administration official who served in the Justice Department blasted Garland for vacating the orders, saying “[t]he American people deserve better.”
“Today’s decision will lead to tens of thousands of meritless asylum claims — if not hundreds of thousands — in the months and years ahead,” Gene Hamilton, vice president of America First Legal, a nonprofit law firm, said in a statement, according to Breitbart.
“This, of course, is part of a bigger plan under the Biden Administration that involves the Department of Homeland Security granting asylum en masse along the border to anyone who comes from a country with higher general crime rates than the United States,” Hamilton continued. “The American people deserve better.”