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Program assisting minors from Central America ends

Some minors fleeing violence in Central America have settled in Florida under a federal program, known as the Central American Minors program, which has been in operation since the end of 2014. On Aug. 16, the program ended. The Trump administration had placed it under review in January shortly after the inauguration, and the applications of 2,700 children with conditional approval for the program were put on hold. Those applications will now be canceled.

Since the program's implementation, 1,500 children and family members have been admitted into the United States. They are then placed under a two-year parole that allows them to live and travel in the United States and seek work permits. The program's termination means that when they reapply after the two-year period, they will only be permitted to stay for humanitarian reasons or for public benefit.

Refugee advocates say the cancellation of the program will result in children taking greater risks to cross the border. The program had allowed people under 21 whose parents lawfully resided in the United States to apply for the refugee resettlement interview prior to arriving in the country. The majority of the children who arrived on the program and who were awaiting approval were from El Salvador.

With immigration law in flux and these and other programs and visas vulnerable, people who wish to get permission to live and work legally in the United States may want to talk to an attorney. Programs that allowed friends or family members to immigrate may no longer be valid. However, people might be eligible to apply for political asylum if they face persecution because of race, political opinion, nationality, membership in a social group or religion.

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