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A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses

Authored By: American Immigration Council

This Guide which was first issued in summer 2014 provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some traveling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern border. This Guide seeks to explain the basics. Who are these children and why are they coming? What basic protections does the law afford them? What happens to the children once they are in U.S. custody? What have the U.S. and other governments done in response? What additional responses have advocates and legislators proposed? The answers to these questions are critical to assessing the U.S. government’s responses and understanding the ongoing debate about whether reforms to the immigration laws and policies involving children are needed.

Last Review and Update: Jul 31, 2015