USCCB Migration Chairman Deeply Disappointed by Administration’s Decision to Terminate the Central American Minors Parole Program

August 21, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin,Texas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee onMigration, expresses his opposition to the Administration's decision to endparole processing for individuals in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala whoapply to enter the U.S. through the Central American Minors (CAM) program.Bishop Vasquez, who is currently in El Salvador, says that the elimination ofthis program puts the lives of vulnerable children at risk for greater harm.

Bishop Vásquez' full statement follows:

"My brother bishops and I are deeplydisappointed by the Administration's decision to terminate the critical paroleoption of the CAM program.  Interminating the parole option, the Administration has unnecessarily chosen to cutoff proven and safe alternatives to irregular and dangerous migration forCentral American children, including those previously approved for parole whoare awaiting travel in their home countries. Pope Francis has called on us toprotect migrant children, noting that "among migrants, children constitute the mostvulnerable group." We supported the CAMprogram, which included both refugee and parole options, precisely because itprovided a legal and organized way for children to migrate to the United Statesand reunify with families. Terminating the parole program will neither promotesafety for these children nor help our government regulate migration.

In El Salvador, we have seen first-handthe very real problems that these children face. The Church, with its globalpresence, learns of this violence and persecution every day, in migrantshelters and in repatriation centers. We know that children must be protected.They must be given the ability to remain in their home countries and findopportunities, but they must also be able to leave and migrate safely to findprotection when there are no alternatives. The CAM parole program offered partof that solution - a legal way to migrate for the most vulnerable of children."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, MRS, CentralAmerican Minors program, CAM, violence, persecution, migrants, migrantchildren, parole program, migration.

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