WASHINGTON – The United States’ Department of State announced on Wednesday that it would stop accepting new applications to the Central American Minors, a refugee program helping children who fled violence in their countries.
The decision to end the CAM refugee program on Thursday at midnight had already been announced in August, but the deadline for the application was only announced on Wednesday.
“The Department of State will not accept any new applications to the CAM refugee program after 11:59 pm EST, November 9,” according to a statement.
Former US president Barack Obama established the CAM program in December 2014 as a way to tackle the influx of children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who arrived at the southern US border alone, without any adults accompanying them.
Although the US government at the time tried to urge the parents to stop sending their children on such a dangerous journey, the CAM program showed that those children still continued to arrive at the US border.
US President Donald Trump tried to tackle the high number of young Central American immigrants arriving by imposing stricter controls along the southern US border, and even accused the parents of those minors arriving in the US of human trafficking.
The program has provided refuge to some 1,500 Central American minors since it was launched.
The Trump administration has made reducing US immigration programs a priority.
In addition to ending the CAM, the US has already chosen not to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua, has cancelled the diversity-visa lottery, and has reduced refugee quotas in the country.
Trump has also hindered the arrival of citizens, several from Muslim-majority countries, known as a “travel ban.”