Children / Minors

Children / Minors

Education as an Opportunity for Integration: Assessing Colombia, Peru, and Chile’s Educational Responses to the Venezuelan Migration Crisis

With over 5 million Venezuelans fleeing their home country, Latin America is facing the largest migration crisis in its history. Colombia, Peru, and Chile host the largest numbers of Venezuelan migrants in the region. Each country has responded differently to the crisis in terms of the provision of education. Venezuelan migrants attempting to enter the primary, secondary, and higher education systems encounter a variety of barriers, from struggles with documentation to limited availability of spaces in schools to cultural barriers and xenophobia.

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Child Maltreatment & Child Migration: Abuse Disclosures by Central American and Mexican Unaccompanied Migrant Children

While gang violence, community violence, and domestic violence have been recognized as contributing factors to Central American migration, less is known about the intersection between child maltreatment and migration. This article uses secondary data from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees interviews with unaccompanied minors from Central America and Mexico to examine child maltreatment. It provides information on the abused children, their abusers, and the questions that led to their disclosure of maltreatment. It finds that girls reported maltreatment at higher rates than boys; only girls in this sample reported sexual abuse and intimate partner violence; and boys experienced physical abuse more than any other form of maltreatment. Overall, girls experienced all forms of abuse at higher rates than boys. Fewer than half of this sample described maltreatment as an explicit reason for migration, even those who viewed it as a type of suffering, harm, or danger. In addition, some disclosures suggest that childhood transitions, such as in housing, schooling, or work status, warrant further inquiry as a potential consequence of or contributor to maltreatment.

The article recommends that professionals engaged with migrant children in social services, legal services, or migration protection and status adjudications should inquire about maltreatment, recognizing that children may reveal abuse in complex and indirect ways. Protection risks within the home or family environment may provide the grounds for US legal immigration protections, such as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or asylum. Practitioners working with unaccompanied migrant children should use varied approaches to inquire about home country maltreatment experiences. Maltreatment may be part of the context of child migration, whether or not it is explicitly mentioned by children as a reason for migration.

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Promoting Voice and Agency Among Forcibly Displaced Children and Adolescents: Participatory Approaches to Practice in Conflict-Affected Settings

Globally, large numbers of children and adolescents are displaced by armed conflict, which poses significant threats to their mental health, psychosocial well-being, and protection. Although humanitarian work to support mental health, psychosocial well-being, and protection has done considerable good, this paper analyzes how humanitarian action is limited by excessive reliance on a top-down approach. Although the focus is on settings of armed conflict, the analysis offered in this paper applies also to the wider array of humanitarian settings that spawn increasing numbers of refugees globally.

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When Internal Migration Fails: A Case Study of Central American Youth Who Relocate Internally Before Leaving Their Countries

This paper examines the experiences of Central American youth who have attempted internal relocation before migrating internationally. Based on interviews and participant observation with Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran youth migrating through Mexico, this paper shows how youth from the Northern Countries of Central America turn to their domestic networks to escape labor exploitation and gang violence before undertaking international journeys. The paper further demonstrates how those domestic networks lead youth into contexts of poverty and violence similar to those they seek to escape, making their internal relocation a disappointment. The failure of their internal relocation attempts makes them turn to international migrant networks as their next option. This paper sheds light on the underexplored issue of internal migration among Central American youth and that migration’s synergy with Central American youths’ migration to the United States. The paper finds that internal relocation is unsuccessful when the internal destination fails to resolve the issues from which youth are attempting to escape. This failure ultimately triggers their departure from their home country.

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Tax Equality for Immigrants: The Indispensable Ingredient for Remedying Child Poverty in the United States

Both at the federal and state levels, tax credits have proved effective policy instruments to combat poverty, and they are at the heart of President Biden’s massive initiative on childhood poverty. However, about one of every five children suffering poverty in the United States has an unauthorized immigrant parent and thus little or no access to tax credits. That is nearly two million children, and 85 percent of them are US citizens. Achieving historic reductions in childhood poverty thus will be impossible without remedying the eligibility exclusions and bureaucratic impediments that unauthorized immigrants face in the US tax system.

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Innovating Inclusion: A New Wave of State Activism to Include Immigrants in Social Safety Nets

States across the country are tackling an equity issue in the tax code by breaking from federal eligibility standards for their state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). Specifically, states are taking it upon themselves to end the exclusion of taxpayers who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are personal tax processing numbers issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number. They are primarily issued to undocumented immigrants, although they are also issued to certain lawfully present immigrants. Millions of people pay taxes with ITINs every year. Together ITIN-filers paid $23.6 billion in taxes in 2015. In less than a year, five states have successfully passed legislation to end the exclusion of these tax filers from their EITCs.

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CMSOnAir | Jennifer Podkul on the Humanitarian Protection of Children

In this interview, Jennifer Podkul, the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), describes the United States’ recent history with respect to the humanitarian protection of children and offers an overview of the current situation at the US-Mexico border for child migrants. An international human rights lawyer and expert on child migration to the United States, Podkul recently testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security on the best practices for the care and protection of child migrants.

Podkul’s 2016 JMHS paper, “The Impact of Externalization of the Migration Controls on the Rights of Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants,” examined how the United States, Australia, and the European Union sought to prevent migrants and refugees from arriving at their borders to seek protection. One example presented in the paper is the Obama administration’s response to the increase in unaccompanied children in 2014. Podkul describes what has changed since the Obama administration with respect to the deterrence of child migrants and offers policy recommendations for the care and reception of child migrants.

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Real Needs, Not Fictitious Crises Account for the Situation at US-Mexico Border

The number of unaccompanied children and asylum-seekers crossing the US-Mexico border in search of protection has increased in recent weeks. The former president, his acolytes, and both extremist and mainstream media have characterized this situation as a “border crisis,” a self-inflicted wound by the Biden administration, and even a failure of US asylum policy. It is none of these things. Rather, it is a response to compounding pressures, most prominently the previous administration’s evisceration of US asylum and anti-trafficking policies and procedures, and the failure to address the conditions that are displacing residents of the Northern Triangle states of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), as well as Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and other countries. In Central America, these conditions include:

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CMSONAIR | Staying Connected to Urban Students and Their Parents

Partnership Schools, a network of nine elementary and middle schools in urban areas of New York and Cleveland, is trying to stem the tide of Catholic school closings. Their network is taking a unique approach to funding, relying heavily on philanthropic support and keeping costs down, while maintaining high-quality education.

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