Contributed by Melanie Corrin, Partner
On December 4, 2014 the United States Department of State announced the launch of an in country refugee/parole program in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the extraordinarily dangerous journey that tens of thousands of children are undertaking to escape violence and fear in their home countries. This program will allow certain parents from one of these three countries who are lawfully present in the United States to request to bring their children to the United States as refugees via the U.S.
Additionally, children who are found ineligible for refugee admission, but are still at risk of harm, may be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis. The refugee/parole program will not be a pathway for undocumented parents to bring their children to the United States. Instead, the program will provide certain vulnerable, at risk children with an opportunity to be reunited with parents lawfully present in the United States.
A fact sheet in English and Spanish describing the program can be found on the Department of State website:
Applications for this program may be initiated by a lawfully present parent in the United States, and while there will not be a fee associated with the form, parents are expected to pay to cover the initial costs of DNA testing to confirm claimed biological parent/child relationships.
Forms will not be available on the Department of State website to the general public and cannot be completed without the assistance of a Department of State funded resettlement agency. These nearly 350 resettlement agency affiliates are located in more than 180 communities throughout the United States.
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