Protecting Migrant Children
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Protecting Migrant Children

In Search of Best Practice

Edited by Mary Crock and Lenni B. Benson

Unprecedented numbers of children are crossing international borders seeking safety. Framed around compelling case studies explaining why children are on the move in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania, this book explores the jurisprudence and processes used by nations to adjudicate children’s protection claims. The book includes contributions from leading scholars in immigration, refugee law, children’s rights and human trafficking which critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of international and domestic laws with the aim of identifying best practice for migrant children.
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Chapter 3: Why they leave: Latin American immigrant youths and their quest for survival

Isabel Martinez


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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