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Immigration Law

Biden to Expand Central American Minors Program

Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2021

"The Biden administration is expected to announce the major expansion of a program to allow Central American youths into the United States legally, part of its stated goal to increase “legal pathways” for immigration to the U.S. The expansion, which administration officials told The Times would be announced later Tuesday, could increase the number of Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran children being reunited with family already in the U.S. from several hundred to tens of thousands. “It could be a substantial increase, and we hope it will be,” a senior administration official said in an interview, speaking on condition of anonymity to brief a reporter on the policy before its formal announcement. The Central American Minors Program, as it is known, focuses on children and youths from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of the region just south of Mexico. ... Tuesday’s decision vastly increases the potential pool of children who will be allowed to seek entry. It expands the categories of adults who may petition for children to join them, adding to the mix legal guardians and parents whose legal status in the U.S. is still being processed, including those with pending asylum or visa-application cases, the official said. The official said there could be at least 100,000 newly eligible petitioners. Many of the children and youths — who must be unmarried and younger than 21 — also will be allowed to avail themselves of the U.S. Refugees Admissions Program, which provides numerous benefits and is also being expanded by the Biden administration, the official said."