New immigration program helps reunite Central American families

Immigration Petition I130In the last few months the Obama administration has begun to implement a new and largely unnoticed program to enable immigrants from Central America with legal status in the United States to bring over members of their family.

The new policy applies to minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who face dangers including possible violence. In some instances admission may also be allowed for grandchildren and spouses of immigrants. The program was implemented back in December 2014 by US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department, with the announcement made by Vice-President Joe Biden in November while attending a summit with leaders from Central America on the issue of economic development.

Officials insist that the change is a necessity due to the fact that many children are putting their lives at risk trying to cross the US border and that these children are also vulnerable to exploitation by smugglers; however, the initiative has seen little promotion in the United States other than details and announcements being posted online on the websites of various relevant agencies. The new law applies only to those from Central America and is the result of an anti-trafficking law passed in 2008 that emphasized the need to protect youngsters from this region.

Minors who are at risk may be eligible to gain refugee status and start on a pathway to resettlement assistance, obtaining a green card and eventual full citizenship.