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OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO UNACCOMPANIED AND SEPARATED CHILDREN IN THE UNITED STATES: A HELPING HAND
LINDA A. PIWOWARCZYK*
I. I NTRODUCTION Children throughout the world are placed in harm’s way through the circumstances of their lives, often far from the childhoods available for many in societies that are politically stable and economically prosperous. Our own society is at a crossroads. How do we want to treat the unaccompanied youth who come to our borders – as the children they are, or as objects of interest to homeland security, border patrols, and immigration discourse? Although one might easily respond, that we should treat the youth as children first, our immigration policy continues to objectify children as a group. Furthermore, our immigration policy does not take into account the vulnerability of each individual child, their histories, potential victimization and resultant distrust, their human rights and personal dignity, resilience, cognitive development, or susceptibility to persuasion. There is very little written about the mental health impact of immigration detention on children in the United States. This paper will attempt to draw on what has been written about both adults and children detained abroad to underscore the necessity of incorporating child development and mental health considerations into the immigration debate. In addition, I will advocate against the use of immigration detention of children in favor of foster care and group homes, as well as for the use of guardians ad litem. Here is story of a young man, now 25, from Guatemala who fled his country. Had he been picked up by border control, he would have likely been deported. His mother left him when he was five. He thinks it was because she was pregnant with another child, and was very poor. Guatemalan soldiers threatened his father as they wanted him to serve in the army. He then disappeared. His uncle was brutally murdered and was drowned in... [continues]
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(2011, 11). Street Children - Their Vulnerabilities and Our Responsibilities. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Street-Children-Their-Vulnerabilities-And-857043.html
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"Street Children - Their Vulnerabilities and Our Responsibilities." StudyMode.com. 11, 2011. Accessed 11, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Street-Children-Their-Vulnerabilities-And-857043.html.