Title

The handling of unaccompanied minors entering the United States from Mexico and the northern Triangle Region.

Date of Award

5-1-2016

Document Type

Thesis

School

College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts

Abstract

The United States government has been challenged by the unprecedented number of children arriving at the southwestern border raising questions regarding its capacity to deal with this crisis. The majority of children are fleeing from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Under international law, these children are eligible for international protection due to the circumstances that pushed them to leave. However, due to the lack of child-sensitive policies, the U.S. has failed in providing children with the help they need. This research project argues that the U.S. needs a more child-sensitive immigration system that takes into consideration the vulnerability of the child through a best interest of the child principle lens. Incorporating this principle into immigration laws that affect children will bring the U.S. immigration system in line with welfare laws and international laws in place to protect children. As a result, the United States will have an immigration system that takes into consideration the experience of children in their home countries, during the journey, and in the United States. Also, a best interest of the child policy will ensure that children have a just legal process in which they are able to understand their legal situation. This research analyzes the U.S. actions in repatriating, sheltering, and adjudicating children. As every part of the process after children arrive to the U.S. should be guided by a best interest of the child principle.