Americas

Americas

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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Legalization Through Registry: The Benefits of a “Rolling Registry” Program

With one statutory change, Congress could extend legal status to millions of undocumented residents through an existing legalization program known as the “registry.” In past decades, the program legalized thousands of long-term undocumented residents, but virtually no undocumented residents today would qualify unless Congress revises the legislation. If updated, the program could extend legal status to millions.

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Ready to Stay: A Comprehensive Analysis of the US Foreign-Born Populations Eligible for Special Legal Status Programs and for Legalization under Pending Bills

This paper offers estimates of US foreign-born populations that are eligible for special legal status programs and those that would be eligible for permanent residence (legalization) under pending bills. It seeks to provide policymakers, government agencies, community-based organizations (CBOs), researchers, and others with a unique tool to assess the potential impact, implement, and analyze the success of these programs. The paper views timely, comprehensive data on targeted immigrant populations as an essential pillar of legalization preparedness, implementation, and evaluation. The paper and the exhaustive estimates that underlie it, represent a first attempt to provide a detailed statistical profile of beneficiaries of proposed major US legalization programs and special, large-scale legal status programs.

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Immigrants’ Use of New York City Programs, Services, and Benefits: Examining the Impact of Fear and Other Barriers to Access

New York City is a “welcoming city” that encourages “all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status” to access the public benefits and services for which they qualify (NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs or “MOIA” 2021a). Moreover, it invests significant resources in educating immigrant communities on this core commitment and its lack of participation in federal immigration enforcement activities. However, this report by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) finds that immigrants in New York City still face significant barriers to accessing public benefits and services.  

The report is based on CMS research that examined immigrant fear and other barriers in three general areas: the use of public benefits, with a particular focus on the public charge rule; the use of public health services; and access to law enforcement and the courts. The report documents how Trump-era immigration policies perpetuated fear among immigrant communities, in the context of other barriers to accessing services and benefits, and why its detrimental impacts have persisted and outlived the Trump administration.

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Extraregional Migratory Flows in Transit as Complex Unbounded Emergency (Risk): Conceptual Challenges and Empirical Lessons in Costa Rica

Recent migratory flows transiting through Central America have led to unprecedented institutional and humanitarian responses across the sub-region. Between 2015 and 2016, the small Central American countries and Costa Rica in particular experienced at least two major “migration waves,” triggered by thousands of “extraregional migrants” in transit from Cuba, Haiti, and many countries from Asia and Africa who became stranded for months in Central America. The article examines how these recent and unusual migratory flows led to novel state responses, including the use of disaster risk management principles and operational mechanisms. Based on empirical data from Costa Rica, the article explores how the concept and notion of complex unbounded emergency (risk) may be appropriate in understanding the practical implications of this new migratory reality in terms of disaster risk reduction and management. It aims to shed new insights on the complexities of extraregional migratory flows, which are likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

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The Migrant Protection Protocols: Policy History and Latest Updates

On December 6, 2021, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reimplemented the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. This post and the accompanying graphic outline policy changes and estimates of people impacted by MPP and their asylum case outcomes.

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