Durham teen among few allowed in US through federal immigration program
A federal program established about a year and a half ago is giving some children from Central America a chance to flee violence in the region and make new homes in the United States.Posted — Updated
The U.S. State Department has received more than 7,700 applications to the CAM program as of April 1, officials said, but only 162 children have come into the U.S. through it.
Melvin Perez is one of the lucky few, arriving in Durham a month ago after 13 months of paperwork, interviews and health screenings.
Ana Perez said Thursday that she waited so long just to hug her 16-year-old son in this country, where he no longer faces the gang violence that plagues their native El Salvador, and it was worth the wait.
Melvin's trip to the U.S. marked his first flight on a plane, and he is now getting used to riding a school bus to classes every day. He said his biggest challenge is learning the English language, but he said he is catching on more quickly than he thought he would.
Because he didn't enter the U.S. as a refugee, Melvin must start an entirely new immigration process. He said he just wants to take advantage of every opportunity life gives him and move forward.
CAM processing centers in North Carolina
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