Migration Policy Institute
Unaccompanied Minors and Their Journey through the U.S. Immigration System
Michelle Brané, Director of the Detention and Asylum program, Women's Refugee Commission
Jessica Jones, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Detention and Asylum Program, Women's Refugee Commission
Wendy Young, Executive Director, KIND
Kathleen Newland, MPI Co-Founder and Director of the Refugee Policy and Migrants, Migration, and Development Programs
In 2012, both the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported increases in the numbers of unaccompanied minors who are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, being picked up, and placed into their care. With unaccompanied minors having a particular set of protection needs, there is growing concern over the increase and how to handle the influx while ensuring their needs are met. Representatives from the Women's Refugee Commission conducted a fact-finding mission at the border in 2012 to discover more about this trend and the resulting impacts, and KIND serves unaccompanied children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone and strives to ensure that no child appears in immigration court without representation.
MPI was pleased to host a discussion with experts from both KIND and the Women’s Refugee Commission, focusing on the causes of the increase in unaccompanied minor migrants, the situation these minors face once detained or apprehended, and the challenges confronting both nongovernmental organizations trying to provide aid and the U.S. government agencies responsible for processing minors through the system.