Children / Minors

Children / Minors

The Mixed Motives of Unaccompanied Child Migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle

This paper examines the mixed-motive migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America’s Northern Triangle states (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). Using data from a 2016 survey carried out in 10 shelters for unaccompanied child migrants run by a Mexican government child welfare agency, the paper identifies the immigrating minor’s motives, which are oftentimes mixed. Some of the key findings include:

  • Around one-third of the child migrants surveyed had mixed motives, including both forced and voluntary reasons for migrating.
  • Violence appears most often as a reason for migrating among minors with mixed motives, as opposed to the search for better opportunities, which appears more often as an exclusive motive.
  • Significant differences between the three nationalities are observed: relatively few Guatemalan minors indicated violence as a motive, and few displayed mixed motives, as opposed to Hondurans, and especially Salvadorans.
  • The minors fleeing violence, searching for better opportunities, and indicating both motives at the same time were largely mature male adolescents. The minors mentioning family reunification as their sole motive were predominantly girls and young children.
  • Violence was the motive that mixed the most with other motivations.

The results indicate that binary formulations regarding forced and voluntary migration are often inadequate. The implications of these findings include the need to consider forced reasons for migrating in the context of mixed-motive migration, the need for in-depth, individual asylum screening, and the need for more flexible policy approaches that are inclusive of mixed-motive migration.

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Migration Experts Series | Michael Doyle
Michael W. Doyle is the Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and University Professor of Columbia University, affiliated with the School of International and Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Law School. At Columbia, he co-directs...

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A Sad Day for Dreamers and US Citizens
In the past weeks, communities in Texas and Louisiana suffered the loss of life and property to a degree that most of us will never experience. This seemed like an once-in-a-lifetime disaster. Yet, on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the Trump...

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Fate of Dreamers Will Test the Character of Our Nation
President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily protects from deportation close to 800,000 young immigrants – known as Dreamers – brought to this country as children, marks a point of demarcation...

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Early Twentieth-Century Deportation and the Resistance

Heightened focus on the “illegal immigrant” suggests that persons without status constitute a new phenomenon, but the issue of authorization to enter and remain in the United States stretches back to the end of the nineteenth century. One agency working with Ellis Island-era immigrants in danger of deportation was the Saint Raphael Society for the Protection of Italian Immigrants. This post examines some of the Society’s records, which includes stories and photographs of persons in danger of deportation.[1]

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Mobilizing Coherent Community Responses to Changing Immigration Policies | “Beyond the Wall”: Special Screening and Community Discussion of Documentary Film
This session featured a special screening of The Texas Tribune’s short documentary, “Beyond the Wall" which puts viewers into the shoes of undocumented immigrants, border patrol agents and a borderland rancher to explore the state’s most pressing immigration issues. It is part of the Tribune’s yearlong Bordering on Insecurity project. Following the screening, the Tribune’s Jay Root moderated an expert panel discussion exploring the issues and solutions.

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Mobilizing Coherent Community Responses to Changing Immigration Policies | Playing to Win Over the Short- and Long-Term
This panel highlighted successful models of collaboration to defeat anti-immigrant legislation and to create momentum and winning partnerships for long-term reform. It discussed the ingredients of successful past legislative campaigns; current state advocacy challenges (including passage of SB 4 in Texas); and likely legislative challenges in Congress in the upcoming months.

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