In Search of Best Practice
Edited by Mary Crock and Lenni B. Benson
Chapter 3: Why they leave: Latin American immigrant youths and their quest for survival
Based on years of archival research, primary interviews and observations across myriad sites including schools, homes and courts in Puebla, Mexico, New York City, and south Texas, this chapter places children’s migrations into a socio-historical context so that this phenomenon can be better understood as a byproduct of seemingly endless US (and foreign) interventions. Largely subsumed into accounts of adult and family migration where minors were assumed to simply be ‘luggage’ or following their parents, the trickles of independent teenage migrants that came before today’s waves have mostly gone ignored. Entitled to economic and physical security with and away from their families, these youths have actively responded to the ebbs and flows of interventions in their countries by immigrating for nearly a century; today’s Mexican and Central American teenage migrants are simply making the old new again.
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