Children / Minors

Children / Minors

In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy
This paper examines the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy and how Italy has responded to their need for protection. It contains five complementary sections. Section 1 provides a statistical overview of unaccompanied minors in Italy between 2014 and 2017. In particular, it discusses unaccompanied minors who request political asylum, those in government reception facilities who do not, and those who have left reception centers without seeking asylum and have become “untraceable.” The second section addresses why unaccompanied minors leave their countries of origin and how they transit to Italy and elsewhere. This section highlights the role of families in the decision to migrate and the migration process. It distinguishes unaccompanied minors who largely seek to “escape from” particular conditions from other migrants who are in search of a better life for themselves and their families. The third section covers Italian reception policies and policymaking challenges, with a particular focus on implementation of Italy’s System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. The section argues for reception procedures and interventions that are tailored to the particular vulnerabilities and needs of unaccompanied minors. Section 4 offers a psychosocial analysis of the phenomenon of unaccompanied child migration. It describes strategies to build the competencies, sense of agency, and resilience of unaccompanied minors. The final section details the demands and requirements of acting in the “best interests” of unaccompanied minors. It ends by setting forth minimum principles of protection for unaccompanied minors, which should inform both the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

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CMSOnAir | Paola Piscitelli on the Humanitarian Corridors Project
In this episode, Paola Piscitelli, president of the Community of Sant'Egidio USA, describes the history of the Community of Sant'Egidio and explains its Humanitarian Corridors Project, including the process of identifying refugee beneficiaries and the communities to host them, the services and programs coordinated to welcome refugees, and the importance of ecumenical partnerships to serve people in need.

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DREAM Act-Eligible Poised to Build on the Investments Made in Them

This paper outlines the results of a study on young immigrants, known as the Dreamers, who would be eligible for conditional permanent status under the DREAM Act of 2017. The study paints a portrait of a highly productive, integrated group of young Americans, who are deeply committed to the United States and poised to make — with status and time — even more substantial contributions to the communities that have invested in them. These investments include $150 billion that states and localities have to date spent on the education of Dreamers. The paper highlights potential DREAM Act recipients’ large numbers, prevalence throughout the country, high levels of employment and self-employment, long residence, US families, English language proficiency, and education levels. It argues that with time and, particularly, with a path to citizenship, the Dreamers would be able to contribute significantly more to their communities. Finally, the study finds that a large number of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, who will soon lose this status, would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act.

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Global Compact on Migration: Issues at Play
One of the most significant outcomes of the New York Declaration on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, a non-binding international agreement adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2016, was the launching of a two-year process to...

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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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