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Immigrant children (<18 years) who enter the United States alone and without legal status are defined as unaccompanied alien children (UAC ), according to United States law. Between 2013 and 2015, the number of unaccompanied immigrant children arriving at the United States-Mexico border increased dramatically, reaching a peak of over 55,000 in FY 2014. While a number of research and policy documents detail the movement of youth through the immigration system, little is known about this population after their release to sponsors in the U.S. The current research brief synthesizes the existing research using a multi-disciplinary approach. We have chosen to prioritize peer-reviewed research, but have also included information from governmental and NGO reports. Each of the following sections summarizes the research on a different aspect of youth’s postr-elease adjustment to life in the United States. We conclude the report with a list of unanswered research questions.


Author Posting. This report is posted here by permission of Center for the Human Rights of Children for personal use, not for redistribution.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.