A Child Alone and Without Papers

A report on the return and repatriation of unaccompanied undocumented children by the United States

Posted September 1, 2008
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Center for Public Policy Priorities
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CPPP A Child Alone and Without Papers Cover 2008


This report — a compelling blend of original research and personal stories — examines how the United States handles the removal and return of some 43,000 unaccompanied child immigrants each year. It offers readers a comprehensive overview of the issue’s most pressing concerns, describes a broken system that is ripe for reinvention and spells out clear policy solutions aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of this vulnerable demographic.  

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

In America, our system for realizing the removal and repatriation of migrant children is broken

In the United States, the reality of how we handle undocumented, unattended children is this: We disregard the protections outlined in numerous international agreements, return children to unsafe conditions and do little to deter repeat migration attempts. Experts are calling for a new approach, one inspired by the ideals of our child welfare system that recognizes the vulnerability of migrant children and strives to safeguard their well-being above all else.