October 8, 2021
On a recent Friday afternoon, 25-year-old Samael lounged on the grass with his parents and younger brother at a park in North Hollywood, taking everything in. He’d just flown in to LAX two days earlier from El Salvador. It’s his first time here — and his first time seeing his family in person since he was 4 years old.
“I couldn’t imagine it, being able to be here, with them,” Samael said, his voice wavering with emotion.
In 2017, Samael was in line to come to the United States through the little-known Central American Minors Refugee and Parole Program, or CAM. The Obama administration started it in late 2014, as unaccompanied children and teens from the region began arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in large numbers, fleeing gang violence.
IILA was proud to help reunite Samael and his family through the Central American Minors program. IILA is actively working on over 100 other reactivated cases.