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 14: Children and refugee law in Australia and the United States

Timnah Baker and Kate Bones


International and domestic jurisprudence and guidance on the definition of ‘refugee’ have largely developed around the adult applicant. Decision-makers and courts have often struggled to engage with the different experiences and vulnerabilities of children seeking asylum. This chapter examines the application of the refugee definition to children in the law of Australia and the United States, providing comparative case studies on two aspects of the definition that present particular issues in the jurisdictions: the level of harm required to amount to persecution, and ‘membership of a particular social group’. The chapter concludes by drawing on the two case studies to highlight the possibilities of transnational and cross-jurisdictional dialogue in the field of refugee law.

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