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(WABNEWS Spanish) — A group of eight states with Republican leaders filed a lawsuit this Friday against the government of President Joe Biden for what they considered an “abuse” of authority by reviving a program that allows certain migrants who have a status or legal protection to remain in the United States can request reunification in the country with their unmarried children under 21 years of age.
As of Friday, the White House and the State Department — who appear among those sued by the states — had not commented on the lawsuit and had not responded to requests for comment sent by WABNEWS.RELATED
For its part, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, told WABNEWS on Friday that it does not comment on pending litigation.
In a statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the lawsuit, argued that the Biden Administration’s “abuse” was that the Shelter Program for Central American Minors (CAM) would contribute ” significantly to many states being forced to accept even more foreigners.”
According to the lawsuit – shared by Paxton’s office online – the states complain that the admission of minors through this program will generate more expenses for them through the provision of services such as health and education.
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The immigration laws of the United States allow citizens and permanent residents to request certain relatives through immigration processes. The lawsuit notes that the CAM program expands these criteria and makes it easier for other migrants — such as those with temporary protected status — to reunite with their children under the age of 21 on U.S. soil.
In the court document, the plaintiffs said that, in contrast to CAM benefits, “aliens who are qualifying relatives of US citizens or permanent residents often wait years or decades to legally immigrate to the United States. They endure lengthy processes, background checks and paperwork, requirements that may seem substantial. But they go through the processes that Congress has created and patiently await their opportunity to legally enter the United States and pursue the American dream.”
How does the CAM program work?
The CAM program —which benefits migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador— was initially created in 2014 during the administration of President Barack Obama after a migration crisis that was highlighted by the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied minors at the southern border of the country. The measure was scrapped entirely in 2017 under the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The initiative was revived in March 2021, under the mandate of Biden and —at the time— the government said it was for “the implementation of our comprehensive regional migration management strategy,” according to what the State Department published at the time. from the US in a statement.
In that same document, the Department said that the CAM program was reactivated as “a safe, legal and orderly alternative to the risks incurred in trying to migrate to the United States irregularly.”
According to data from the organization Migration Policy Institute, the Obama initiative had allowed more than 4,000 children under the age of 21 to join their parents in the United States before it was closed by Trump.