Wednesday, August 6, 2014
With unauthorized youth at the forefront of current debates over immigration reform, understanding the diversity of their profiles and experiences is necessary to create holistic immigration policies. In a new policy brief for the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research (Exploitation, Poverty and Marginality among Unaccompanied Migrant Youth), Stephanie Lynnette Canizales conducted qualitative research with unauthorized youth who came to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors in order to support their families abroad. She has found that this growing and at-risk population faces exploitation, poverty and marginality that is neither acknowledged nor addressed by current policies.
• Unauthorized, unaccompanied working youth lack access to the supportive institutions necessary to manage the complex challenges they face.
• Unaccompanied minors are on the economic margins of urban society with low levels of education and knowledge of the English language, which makes them highly vulnerable to worker exploitation and social exclusion.
• Their precarious legal and financial situations lead to high levels of stress, depression, anxiety and physical pain.