Borders, Trajectories and Children: U.S. Integration of Migrant and Refugee Minors (joint UCD-ESRI Research Seminar)

Speaker: Katharine Donato (Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration, Georgetown University, Washington D.C)

This talk is about the management and treatment of immigrants who enter as unaccompanied children (UC). It will chronicle changes in the U.S. government's handling of UC from the past up to present, highlighting three periods: shifts before and after 1980 when the Refugee Act was passed, during the 1980s and 1990s when the U.S. enforcement system began to grow and the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement was procured; and after the events of September 11th, 2001 when two legal statutes -- the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and 2002 Homeland Security Act -- were passed to affect UC treatment and processing.

The current system has UC passing through a tangled web of federal, state, and local agencies after they arrive, and their treatment and management starkly contrasts with the values and treatment of the child welfare system. It will also cover new findings from 110 UC interviews designed to assess their short- and long-term integration experiences, and then end with a blueprint for systemic reform of the federal and state organizations involved in managing the lives of UC.