A meta-synthesis of unaccompanied minors' experiences with legal and social services

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2021-12-06

Authors

Marcos Flores, Anayeli

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Abstract

Unaccompanied minors are characterized as children who present themselves at the U.S. border without a legal guardian and are apprehended by border patrol and placed under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Initially, many of these children were coming from Mexico, but 2014 saw an increase of children coming from Central America, and this region continues to dominate the overall unaccompanied minor apprehensions at the border till this day (Kandel, 2021). There is a growing body of literature on the interactions between unaccompanied minors and the various adults they meet during and after their apprehension, and the lasting impacts these experiences have on these children (Larrison & Edlins, 2020). This thesis will provide an overview of the existing literature along with historical context of why children continue to make the dangerous journey to the United States, include a meta-synthesis of the experiences of minors, lawyers, and social service providers, and provide implications for future research and practice.

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