Attorney General Bonta Joins Coalition in Support of Federal Program to Reunite Migrant Children with Parents

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

 OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced joining a coalition of 17 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 and guardians in the United States. The coalition filed the brief in support of the Biden Administration, which is defending the Central American Minors (CAM) program against a legal challenge led by Texas in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 

"Turning our backs on those escaping dangerous conditions is contrary to our American values. Everyone, regardless of where they come from, deserves the chance to be reunited with family members legally and safely," said Attorney General Bonta. "We urge the court to uphold this program, which is authorized by the immigration statute and gives family members the chance to be considered in their home country for refugee or parole status if a qualifying parent or guardian resides in 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 CAM program seeks to reduce dangerous migration to the United States and provide a more orderly process. The CAM program allows eligible parents and guardians from these countries who have applied to reunite with their minor children in the United States. The CAM program gives qualifying children the chance to be considered in their home countries 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 federal government lacks legal authority for the program. The attorneys general of the amici states supporting CAM explain in their brief that the executive branch has long exercised its discretionary authority under the immigration statute to parole individuals into the United States in a wide range of contexts, to individuals fleeing natural disasters, ranging from asylum seekers who present themselves at the U.S.-Mexico border, to family members of U.S. servicemen and women. As amici explain in the brief, the exercise of this authority to safely reunite children and parents is not only lawful, but also brings a range of positive impacts for the states, from the benefits of family unity to immigrants’ contributions in the workplace to increased tax revenues.  

In filing the brief Attorney General Bonta joined the attorneys general of Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.  

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