Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Bill Ong Hing


Under the administration of Barack Obama in 2014, began an influx of “unaccompanied children” migrating to the United States from Central America and Mexico. To respond to the large number of children crossing the border, the Obama administration decided to fund existing shelters, facilities, and learning centers to house and process these children. Currently, these facilities are still operating under the Trump administration. This paper will clarify the process of unaccompanied children and the role of the Department of Homeland Security and most importantly, the contributions of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Through an analysis and recounting of narratives from former staff and children who previously had an experience in a center under the Office of Refugee Resettlement between the years of 2015-2018, this paper suggests how the stay of the children in these centers can be improved by putting Post Release Services in the front-line when unaccompanied child first arrive to the United States. Moreover, this will give the Office of Refugee Resettlement to focus solely on children who indeed come alone. It can avoid the increase of trauma, deaths and length of time children spend in these facilities. This research shows how using the narratives of the children’s and previous staff members' time under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement can help improve the experience of future children. Some of the solutions this research suggests a restructure of eliminating Las Hieleras (the Icebox, Freezer), a closer attention to the apprehension of unaccompanied children between the Southern Border between Mexico and the United States and extending the Long-Term Care Programs for unaccompanied children.

SCN_0078.pdf (1073 kB)