USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Introduction to Immigrant Children and Representation

The number of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border into the U.S. has risen dramatically in recent years: Over 16,000 unaccompanied minors entered the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2012, and 24,000 are expected to arrive in 2013. The majority of these children come from Mexico and Central America. Many are fleeing domestic abuse, gang violence, human trafficking, or poverty.



Manuals and Websites


Articles, Statistics, and Fact Sheets







  • Children at the Border: The Screening, Protection and Repatriation of Unaccompanied Mexican Minors, Appleseed, 2011
    • "Until late 2008, the United States, as a matter of policy and practice, turned around any unaccompanied Mexican children caught at or near the border with little or no evaluation of the risks they faced upon return to Mexico."
    • In December 2008, Congress passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 (the TVPRA), mandating that the Department of Homeland Security interview every unaccompanied Mexican minor to assess whether he or she is at risk of trafficking and/or has a possible claim to asylum.
    • "While U.S. policy has changed, at the border the “revolving door” continues to be the practice."


  • Facing Our Future: Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement, Urban Institute, 2010
    • "Today there are an estimated 5.5 million children with unauthorized immigrant parents, about three-quarters of whom are U.S.-born citizens."
    • "This report examines the consequences of parental arrest, detention, and deportation on 190 children in 85 families in six locations across the country."


  • Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children, Urban Institute, 2007
    • "There are approximately five million U.S. children with at least one undocumented parent. The recent intensification of immigration enforcement activities by the federal government has increasingly put these children at risk of family separation, economic hardship, and psychological trauma."

  • Prison Guard or Parent? INS Treatment of Unaccompanied Refugee Children, Women's Refugee Commission, 2002

  • Unaccompanied Juveniles in INS Custody, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Evaluation and Inspections Division, 2001
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