About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

15 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 263 (2005-2006)
Our Responsibility to Unaccompanied and Separated Children in the United States: A Helping Hand

handle is hein.journals/bupi15 and id is 267 raw text is: OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO UNACCOMPANIED AND
Children throughout the world are placed in harm's way through the circum-
stances 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 vic-
timization and resultant distrust, their human rights and personal dignity, resil-
ience, 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 incorporat-
ing child development and mental health considerations into the immigration de-
bate. In addition, I will advocate against the use of immigration detention of chil-
dren in favor of foster care and group homes, as well as for the use of guardians ad
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 threat-
ened his father as they wanted him to serve in the army. He then disappeared.
His uncle was brutally murdered and was drowned in front of him. His grand-
father was burned in his house alive. He was alone on his own at age ten...
at the whim of the adults he met along the way who sometimes fed him, and
often abused him. For so many years of his young life, he had to fend for him-
* M.D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of
Medicine, Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights at the Boston
Medical Center.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most