Unaccompanied Child Migrants in the United States: How Are They Faring?
Sarah Pierce, Research Assistant, Migration Policy Institute
Aryah Somers, Advocacy Director, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Annie Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Marc R. Rosenblum, Deputy Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI
U.S. Customs and Border Protection had apprehended more than 76,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras at the U.S.-Mexico border as of August 31, 2015—the highest level ever. Under U.S. law, these children have the right to contest their deportation and seek relief from removal in immigration court, a process that can take two years or more, during which time they are typically placed with a parent or other adult relative already in the United States.
Despite efforts by the government, advocates, and others to increase access to legal counsel for unaccompanied children (UACs), most are forced to navigate the immigration court system without a lawyer, raising important questions about whether they are getting a fair hearing. These children represent a high-needs population, and their large numbers may place a strain on the states and communities that bear the costs of their education and other services with minimal federal assistance. What is the impact of these arrivals on communities within the United States, and how are schools and communities responding thus far?
Join this webinar for the release of a new Migration Policy Institute brief that offers data and a qualitative research summary on where unaccompanied child migrants are being placed, how they are faring in immigration courts, what types of services are available to them, and how school districts and communities are adapting to their arrival.