Project KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) involves providing legal support to children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking refugee status or humanitarian parole and to reunify with a parent in the United States through the Central American Minors Refugee Processing Program (CAM). KIND was founded in 2008 by Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, and the Microsoft Corporation to create a pro bono movement of law firms, companies, non-governmental organizations, universities and volunteers to provide compassionate and quality legal services for unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States. KIND has since expanded its work to several initiatives in Central America.
The CAM Program allows certain parents in lawful immigration status in the United States to apply to bring their children living in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). The program was created in 2014 to provide a safe, lawful and orderly alternative to the dangerous trip that some of these children undertake to the United States to escape danger in their country. In addition to bringing children to safety, the program reunifies children with a parent in the United States, sometimes following years of separation.
Our collaboration with KIND mainly consists of preparing children with pending cases in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for their interviews with U.S. government officials, supporting children through the CAM process, educating children about the process, and educating and supporting parents in the United States who have applied for their children.
The offices of García & Bodán Honduras and El Salvador have helped in the coordination of the work together with other local firms in order to provide the necessary support to refugee children and families. The work gives hope to the beneficiary families, that due to violence and other problems that endanger their lives they are able to seek protection under the CAM program and support and assistance through this pro bono initiative.
We are currently working on a number of cases where more than 9 young people have benefited, who, with our assistance, now have a new alternative to escape the violence that afflicts their communities and lives.
Vanessa Oquelí, Managing Partner of García & Bodán Honduras, has led the Project nationwide.