E.g., 03/28/2015
E.g., 03/28/2015

Child Migration Crisis in the United States

Child Migration Crisis in the United States

Eduardo Perez/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border increased 90 percent between 2013 and 2014, drawing the attention and concern of the U.S. government, media, and public. MPI, which has deep expertise in migration trends and policies in the United States, Mexico, and Central America, is playing a key role explaining the dynamics and trends that have resulted in this spike in child migration. Here, you can find in one place a collection of relevant MPI resources, from analyses of trends and policy developments surrounding this child migration crisis to data and country profiles of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and recent MPI telebriefings and events to discuss the latest developments.

Unaccompanied Minors Crisis Has Receded from Headlines But Major Issues Remain
This article in MPI's online journal, the Migration Information Source, explores the challenges that remain concerning the fate of tens of thousands of newly arrived children and families now residing in the United States pending immigration court hearings, even as Central American child migrant flows have returned to their precrisis level. Meanwhile, Congress has declined to authorize new funding to address the situation.

The Stalemate over Unaccompanied Minors Holds Far-Reaching Implications for Broader U.S. Immigration Debates
When Congress returns from recess in September, lawmakers will need to pick up where they left off on approving an emergency spending bill to address unaccompanied migrant children at the border. This article previews these battles in Congress and analyzes how the recent border crisis is changing the broader immigration debate in the United States.

Upfront hearings a must to stem tide of border-crossing children
In this Dallas Morning News op-ed, MPI U.S. Immigration Policy Program Director Doris Meissner outlines a key policy option to help address the child migration crisis and reduce the likelihood that more children will set off on a dangerous journey: full immigration court hearings much earlier in the process. This step, proposed while the children remain in custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, would decrease their wait time in the U.S. immigration system, expedite the repatriation or family reunification process, and help reverse some of the incentives spurring this migration of vulnerable children.

Dramatic Surge in the Arrival of Unaccompanied Children Has Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions
This article is a primer on the complicated situation involving unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, overwhelmingly from Central America. The article, which traces the "push" factors that propel the children northward as well as the "pull" factors in the United States—including family reunification and the sometimes unintened consequences of U.S. policy—makes clear the lack of easy solutions to address the complex set of factors driving the rise in arrivals of child migrants.

What Is the Right Policy Toward Unaccompanied Children at U.S. Borders?
In the absence of a policy plan to address the surge in unaccompanied child arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, simplistic explanations and draconian “solutions” are already surfacing. In reality, the problem is enormously complex and there is no single policy approach that is going to bend the curve on unaccompanied child arrivals. In this MPI commentary, Kathleen Newland, who heads the Institute's humanitarian protection work, explores possible ways forward.

Transnational Crime in Mexico and Central America: Its Evolution and Role in International Migration
The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has dramatically increased the risks that migrants crossing the region face. As this report outlines, migrants increasingly are forced to seek the assistance of intermediaries, and those unable to afford one are more likely to be abused along the way.

Crime and Violence in Mexico and Central America: An Evolving but Incomplete U.S. Policy Response
The U.S. government has increased its attention to public security issues in Mexico and Central America since 2007. This report suggest the policy emphasis has begun to shift away from the earlier focus on combating drug trafficking and transnational crime toward addressing the citizen security crisis.

Paying for Crime: A Review of the Relationships between Insecurity and Development in Mexico and Central America
Crime and insecurity are undermining economic and social prosperity in Mexico and Central America, eroding public trust in government institutions. This report examines current economic, social, and political costs resulting from insecurity, and future implications.

Temporary Protected Status in the United States: A Grant of Humanitarian Relief that Is Less than Permanent
Most of the 340,000 noncitizens who are beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States, which provides protection from deportation as well as work authorization, are from El Salvador and Honduras. This Migration Information Source article explains the TPS program, its origins, current beneficiaries, and more.

Mexican and Central American Immigrants in the United States
Since 1970, the immigrant populations from Mexico and Central America living in the United States have increased significantly: rising by a factor of 20 even as the total U.S. immigrant population increased four-fold over the period. This demographic report examines the age, educational, and workforce characteristics of these immigrants.

U.S. Immigration Policy and Mexican/Central American Migration Flows: Then and Now
Migration to the United States from Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) has accelerated in the last four decades. This increase has been driven by economic opportunities and facilitated by social networks of friends and family already in the United States.

Central American Development: Two Decades of Progress and Challenges for the Future
This report summarizes the economic and social development policy achievements of Central American countries over the past 20 years, as well as the notable obstacles to development that remain. The author identifies long-term challenges and outlines how they can be incorporated into a new development agenda.

Evolving Demographic and Human-Capital Trends in Mexico and Central America and Their Implications for Regional Migration
Over the past half century, migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States has been driven in part by regional demographic and human-capital trends. As the U.S. labor force became better educated, fewer native workers accepted certain low-skilled jobs. This report offers a look at the economic changes that have coincided with a Mexican and Central American population boom.

Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America
This final report from the Regional Migration Study Group outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. It offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda for the region, focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness.

Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in U.S., 2008-2012
This data tool allows users to explore where immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras live in the United States, by metropolitan statistical area (MSA). With the majority of unaccompanied minors placed with a parent or other relative pending their immigration court hearing, it is likely that many will live in areas where significant Central American populations are located.

Central American Immigrants in the United States
Since 1990, the number of Central American immigrants in the United States has nearly tripled. This immigrant population grew faster than any other region-of-origin population from Latin America between 2000 and 2010. This article focuses on a wide range of characteristics of Central American immigrants, including the population's size, geographic distribution, admission categories, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Honduras: The Perils of Remittance Dependence and Clandestine Migration
Honduras has a population of just over 8 million and an economy primarily driven by exports—propped up in no small way by remittances. This article examines the history of modern Honduran migration, tracing the rise of emigration to the United States as a dominant economic force, and exploring migration trends, policies, and impacts on Honduran society.

Guatemalan Migration in Times of Civil War and Post-War Challenges
During recent decades, large-scale international migration has been an external escape valve for Guatemala, a response to the country's multiple internal problems. This article examines Guatemalan migration, primarily to the United States, into the post-war era; U.S. government immigration policies affecting Guatemalans; the impacts of migration within Guatemala; and Guatemala/Mexico migration dynamics.

El Salvador: Despite End to Civil War, Emigration Continues
Thousands of Salvadorans fled the country during its civil war in the 1980s, many of them to the United States. The government is focused on engaging its diaspora but also must deal with immigrants from neighboring countries and issues around human trafficking.

Unaccompanied Minors: A Crisis with Deep Roots and No Simple Solutions
During this telebriefing, Doris Meissner and Marc Rosenblum of MPI's U.S. Immigration Policy Program discuss the factors behind the flow of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico to the United States, the relevant U.S. policies governing their treatment, and possible solutions to address this rising flow.

Children on the Run: An Analysis of First-Hand Accounts from Children Fleeing Central America
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres leads a discussion at MPI of the state of citizen security in Central America and the resulting humanitarian impact, featuring findings from Children on the Run, a UNHCR report based on interviews with more than 400 unaccompanied children from the region.

A Treacherous Journey: Child Migrants Navigating the U.S. Immigration System
At this MPI event, panelists from the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings and Kids in Need of Defense discuss their findings regarding how unaccompanied children are processed through the U.S. immigration system, along with recommendations for improvements in the process to ensure the protection of these minors.