In January 2022, Texas (along with seven other states) filed this lawsuit challenging the Central American Minors (CAM) program. Through CAM, certain nationals of the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) who are lawfully in the United States can request, on a case-by-case basis, to be reunited here with their children who remain back in their home countries. CAM was created in 2014 and is intended to provide a safe pathway for family reunification, as an alternative to the dangerous overland journey to the United States’ southern border that so many children otherwise take. The Trump administration attempted to end CAM in 2017 but was found by a court to have done so unlawfully, and so the program was never shut down, and the Biden Administration expanded CAM somewhat 2021. On March 14, 2022, Texas amended their lawsuit to add seven additional states as plaintiffs.
Texas alleges that CAM conflicts with the immigration statutes and that the Biden Administration’s 2021 changes to CAM didn’t go through the proper procedures and likewise conflict with immigration statutes. Texas seeks an injunction terminating CAM.
On May 26, 2022, the Court granted the motion to intervene of two Central American parents currently seeking to be reunited with their children through the CAM program. The two parents (who have been permitted to proceed under pseudonyms) are now defendants in the lawsuit, alongside the federal government defendants.
In August 2023, Texas filed a supplemental complaint to also challenge the “enhancements” to CAM the Biden Administration announced in April 2023. Texas alleges the CAM Enhancements are unlawful for the same reasons it alleges CAM is unlawful. Days after Texas filed its supplemental complaint, four individuals seeking family reunification under the CAM Enhancements moved to intervene in the case as defendants; that motion remains pending.
The parties are currently engaged in discovery (the process in litigation by which each side can request documents and testimony from the other).
Texas alleges that CAM is not authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act and that it specifically constitutes a misuse of the parole statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(d)(5). It also alleges that the Biden Administration’s 2021 memoranda on changes to CAM violate the Administrative Procedure Act’s prohibition of arbitrary and capricious agency action and its notice-and-comment requirement; as well as the Take Care Clause (which requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”). The Supplemental Complaint alleges the same claims as to the CAM Enhancements.
The discovery in which the parties are currently engaged relates to jurisdiction (e.g., the States’ standing).