Unaccompanied Minors Research

Resources on this page include the latest research findings related to the unique population of unaccompanied minors, those with no parent or legal guardian in U.S. to provide care or custody, from leading scholars on the issue.

Children as Bait: Impacts of the ORR-DHS Information-Sharing Agreement

By | Immigrant Youth, Legal/Law, Research, Research Highlight, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Children as Bait: Impacts of the ORR-DHS Information-Sharing Agreement

Women’s Refugee Commission, National Immigrant Justice Center, Washington College of Law (March 26, 2019)

This report reviews the potential impacts of the new Memorandum of Agreement between the HHS and DHS to share information about unaccompanied children in government custody and their prospective sponsors. The report evaluates findings from a survey of individuals involved in the sponsorship application and vetting processes—including attorneys, biometrics technicians and fingerprint specialists, and child advocates—in order to better understand and document the full range of implications of this new MOA.

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Separated Children Placed in Office of Refugee Resettlement Care

By | Family Separation, Federal Policy, Highlighted Resources, Immigrant Families Research, Immigrant Youth, Law & Policy, Law/Policy Highlight, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Separated Children Placed in Office of Refugee Resettlement Care

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (January 2019)

In response to the potential impact of the “zero-tolerance policy” on vulnerable children and ORR operations, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to determine the number and status of separated children who have entered ORR care. OIG examines challenges that ORR-funded facilities have faced in reunifying separated children.

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Running to stand still: Trauma symptoms, coping strategies, and substance use behaviors in unaccompanied migrant youth

By | Child Well-Being, Highlighted Resources, Immigrant Youth, Research, Research Highlight, Trauma, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Running to stand still: Trauma symptoms, coping strategies, and substance use behaviors in unaccompanied migrant youth

Jodi Berger Cardoso, Children and Youth Services Review (April 9, 2018)

The current study explores: (a) the frequency of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, suicidal ideation, and substance use, (b) trauma exposure at pre-migration, migration, and post-migration, and (c) how youth may cope with these adversities among unaccompanied migrant youth, with special attention to their implications for health and well-being.

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Undocumented Immigrants and Their Experience with Illegality

By | Child Well-Being, Deportation, Detention, Family Separation, Immigrant Families Research, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Research, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research | No Comments

Undocumented Immigrants and Their Experience with Illegality

Various Authors, The Russell Sage Foundation (July 2017)

The Russell Sage Foundation published this journal issue, with various articles that examine policy changes and how they have affected the welfare of undocumented immigrants, their families, and their communities.

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Childhood Cut Short: Sexual and Gender-based Violence against Central American Migrant and Refugee Children

By | Child Maltreatment, Immigrant Youth, Research Highlight, Safety, Spanish Resources, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research | No Comments

Childhood Cut Short: Sexual and Gender-based Violence against Central American Migrant and Refugee Children

KIND (June 7, 2017)

Before and during migration, many unaccompanied children who come to the U.S. have endured violence. This study examines their experiences.

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Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

By | Child Well-Being, ICE, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Legal/Law, Research, Resources, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview

William Kandel, Congressional Research Service (January 2017)

This report provides background and scope on the situation of unaccompanied migrant children in the U.S. as well as the current related policy landscape and practice in various government agencies to address this population.

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Crisis on the Border: Specialized Capacity Building in Nonprofit Immigration Organizations

By | Immigrant Youth, Immigration Relief, Research Highlight, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research | No Comments

Crisis on the Border: Specialized Capacity Building in Nonprofit Immigration Organizations

Dyana P. Mason and Emily Fiocco, VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations (June 27, 2016)

This study examines two organizations serving unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.–Mexico Border as well as the policy context for capacity investments and capacity building in the government and nonprofit arenas.

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Post-Release: Linking Unaccompanied Immigrant Children to Family and Community

By | Child Well-Being, Culture: Issues and Competencies, Detention, Immigrant Youth, Research, Safety, Social Work, Trauma, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Post-Release: Linking Unaccompanied Immigrant Children to Family and Community

Breanne L. Grace, PhD & Benjamin J. Roth, PhD, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina (2015)

In the context of increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in the summer of 2014, this report describes the need for post-release services for certain unaccompanied immigrant children.

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Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention

By | Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention, Child Well-Being, Detention, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Relief, Legal/Law, Research, Resources, Safety, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention

 Marc R. Rosenblum, Migration Policy Institute (April 2015)

This report explores the patterns of Central American migration from 2011 to 2014, analyzes the related policy challenges, and provides recommendations of appropriate U.S. and regional policy responses.

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Examining the UAC-DACA Link: New Data Show Child Migrant Crisis Began Before DACA

By | Child Well-Being, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Examining the UAC-DACA Link: New Data Show Child Migrant Crisis Began Before DACA

Dave Bier, Niskanen Center (February 9, 2015)

This study analyzes newly available data, showing that the massive increase in unaccompanied alien children (UACs) began before DACA was even announced in June 2012.

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What Kind of Welcome? Integration of Central American Unaccompanied Children into Local Communities

By | Child Well-Being, Culture: Issues and Competencies, Immigrant Youth, Practice, Research, Resources, Social Workers, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

What Kind of Welcome? Integration of Central American Unaccompanied Children into Local Communities

Elżbieta M. Goździak, Director of Research, Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University (February 2015)

A report on the history and current reality of child migration as well as implications for working with these populations and for future research.

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Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You: An Examination of the United States’ Denial of Asylum to Young Central American Males Who Refuse Membership in Transnational Criminal Gangs

By | Child Well-Being, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You: An Examination of the United States’ Denial of Asylum to Young Central American Males Who Refuse Membership in Transnational Criminal Gangs

Lauren E. Sullivan, 2014 J.D. Candidate at Duquesne University School of Law (Winter 2014)

This article explains U.S. asylum law and the barriers that applicants face in obtaining grants of asylum under the current law, followed by an explanation of how applicants, especially Central American males, and their representatives can pursue successful asylum claims in U.S. immigration courts and federal courts.

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States and Status: A Study of Geographical Disparities for Immigrant Youth

By | Federal Policy, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Law & Policy, Legal/Law, Research, Resources, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), State Policies, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

States and Status: A Study of Geographical Disparities for Immigrant Youth

Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 46(266) (November 2014)

Written by Laila Hlass, this article discusses patterns in the number of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applicants across states and over time.

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No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes

By | Child Well-Being, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Safety, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes

Elizabeth Kennedy, American Immigration Council (July 2014)

This report explores the causes of child migration and the effects of child deportation, focusing on the following questions: What drives these children to flee their homes? What causes their parents to put them and their life’s savings in the hands of smugglers? What happens if they fail to reach the U.S.?

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Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions

By | Immigrant Youth, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions

Migration Policy Institute (June 13, 2014)

The amount of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has dramatically increased. While it is clear to the Obama administration, policymakers and the country as a whole that something needs to be done, there are no simple solutions to address the complex factors that are pushing unaccompanied children to come to the U.S.

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What happens when unaccompanied children arrive at the U.S. border?

By | Child Well-Being, Detention, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Safety, Trauma, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

What happens when unaccompanied children arrive at the U.S. border?

Women’s Refugee Commission (June 2014)

A summary of the reality of what occurs when unaccompanied migrant children present at the U.S. border.

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A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System

By | Child Well-Being, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Safety, Spanish Resources, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System

Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (February 2014)

This comprehensive report includes recommendations for reform consistent with recognized principles of child protection based in practical experience, and litigating cases with potential to set improved standards applied in children’s cases.
The report urges lawmakers to reform the U.S. immigration system for migrant children who are coming to our borders with surging frequency.

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Human Rights of Migrants and Other Persons in the Context of Human Mobility in Mexico

By | Child Well-Being, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Safety, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Human Rights of Migrants and Other Persons in the Context of Human Mobility in Mexico

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (December 2013)

This report explores the situation of migrant persons and others in Mexico, as well as of those who defend migrants’ human rights, including the homicides, kidnappings, disappearances, acts of sexual violence, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, discrimination, and the detention of migrants without due process and judicial protection.

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Almost There: Unaccompanied Alien Children, Immigration Reform and a Meaningful Opportunity to Participate in the Immigration Process

By | Child Well-Being, Culture: Issues and Competencies, Deportation, Immigrant Youth, Immigration Enforcement, Immigration Relief, Research, Resources, Unaccompanied Minors, Unaccompanied Minors Research

Almost There: Unaccompanied Alien Children, Immigration Reform and a Meaningful Opportunity to Participate in the Immigration Process

Wendy Shea, Assistant Professor of Legal Analysis & Writing, Southern University Law Center (December 2013)

This article outlines the current state of the law pertaining
to representation for unaccompanied children, traces the complex
immigration process, assesses current needs and practices, and advocates for guaranteeing representation for this vulnerable population on a legal and economical basis.

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