08/04/2015
Laura Simich • Karen Mallozzi

Youth have been arriving at U.S. borders on their own since the early days of Ellis Island, but it was not until the summer of 2014—when the number of unaccompanied immigrant youth arriving to the United States from Central America increased nearly tenfold from recent years—that “child migrants” became the topic of an urgent political debate. While local governments and legislatures across the country have shown interest in supporting unaccompanied immigrant youth through measures that increase their access to lawyers, schools, and healthcare, a lack of knowledge about their circumstances and needs presents an obstacle to policymaking and improving practical responses. Designed as a collaboration among researchers, youth, and community service providers, this study from Vera and Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice presents a firsthand account of unaccompanied immigrant youth’s needs and insights into practical challenges related to their interactions with key systems in New York.

Watch a video featuring the study’s peer researchers, who immigrated to the United States alone as minors, as they discuss their experiences recruiting and interviewing other unaccompanied immigrant youth as participants for the study.