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Central American Families File Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging CAM Program

(Amarillo, TX) – Last night, six Central American parents represented by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) filed a motion to dismiss Texas v. Biden, a lawsuit attempting to shut down a critical family reunification program. In recent years, certain states, led by Texas, have filed a host of challenges to federal immigration programs claiming that any increase in the number of immigrants in their states harms them. The six parents are defending the legality of the Central American Minors (CAM) Program, which they hope to utilize to reunite with their children. This motion argues that states don’t have legal standing to challenge CAM because they are not harmed by the reunification of immigrant families. If successful, a dismissal would help prevent states from trying to impose through the courts anti-immigrant policies that were rejected at the ballot box.

“At the same time that Texas is installing razor wires and buoys to make border crossings more deadly for immigrant families, the state is attempting to shut down programs like CAM that allow children to safely reunite with their parents in the United States,” said Linda Evarts, Senior Supervising Attorney at IRAP. “Our clients are valued members of their communities in the United States and they simply want to get their children out of danger in Central America. Texas is trying to stop our clients, as well as its own residents, from reuniting with their children. Family reunification poses no harm to Texas or any other state, and this case should be thrown out for good.”

About the Families 

Two parents represented by IRAP joined the Texas v. Biden lawsuit as defendants in May 2022. IRAP represented another four parents to join the case in September 2023. The parents seek to reunite with their children through the CAM Program.

“I have been trying to bring my children and grandchildren to the United States for a decade now, but they remain in danger,” said Magdalena. “My girls tell me that they are desperate to come to the United States to be with me, but I have forbidden them from making the dangerous journey by land. I can’t lose them that way. They are the most important people in my life.”

“I talk to my mother and my kids every day. It is very hard for me to hear my older daughter ask when she will see me again and when I will bring her to the United States,” said Elizabeth. “My son tells me he wants to study to be an astronaut when he comes to the United States and that he wants to build a time machine to see dinosaurs. I am defending the CAM Program so that I can reunite with my children and mother in safety in the U.S. and so that other families who are eligible for the Program can do the same.”

About the CAM Program

Since 2014, the CAM Program has enabled thousands of children to escape life-threatening danger and reunite safely with their parents in the United States. Under CAM, all vetting and screening of applicants is done in Central America, and when children and other family members are approved to travel to the U.S., they do so safely by plane, rather than through a dangerous land journey to the border. After the Trump administration previously terminated CAM, the Biden administration reopened the program and expanded it to new applicants.

IRAP previously represented several families and the organization CASA de Maryland in a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s 2017 termination of the CAM Program. IRAP’s clients entered into a settlement with the government that reopened CAM processing for thousands of families. The government is still processing CAM applicants under that settlement, and IRAP is continuing to fight to protect this important pathway to safety.

Source : International Refugee Assistance Project