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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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October 23, 2023

Chicago – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul today led a coalition of 18 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of a federal program that allows children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to reunite with their parents in America. 

Raoul and the coalition filed the brief supporting the Biden administration in a case brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas challenging the Central American Minors (CAM) program.

“Ending the Central American Minors program would have devastating effects on individuals seeking asylum in the United States from violence or social upheaval in their native countries,” Raoul said. “Reducing the number of dangerous border crossings saves children’s lives. I urge the court to affirm the executive branch’s ability to parole individuals into the United States.”

The CAM program was created in response to an increase in life-threatening border crossings by children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The program seeks to reduce unlawful and dangerous migration to the United States. CAM allows people from these countries who have obtained asylum or refugee status in the United States to apply to bring their minor children to the United States. CAM gives qualifying children the chance to be considered for refugee status or parole, a temporary form of immigration relief.

A group of states led by Texas sued to end CAM, arguing that the Biden administration lacks the authority to administer the program. Raoul and the coalition are asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit. In their brief, they explain that the executive branch has long exercised its discretion to parole individuals into the United States in a wide range of contexts, ranging from asylum seekers who present themselves at the U.S.-Mexico border, to individuals fleeing natural disasters, to family members of U.S. servicemen and women.

The attorneys general explain that if the plaintiff states’ argument is accepted, it could put at risk several other parole programs that serve critical humanitarian, foreign-policy and public-interest goals. Ending these programs would upend the lives of many Illinois residents already living in the U.S. under grants of parole. The brief notes that these residents benefit their communities in a number of ways, including through sustaining state economies by contributing hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes and consumer spending each year. 

Raoul was joined in filing the brief by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.