DACA and the Surge in Unaccompanied Children

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, San Diego State University
Thitima Puttitanun, Kasetsart University

The number of unaccompanied alien children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has been growing exponentially in recent years. This surge has been driven largely by children coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as opposed to Mexico as it was traditionally the case. While extreme violence, endemic poverty, and the desire to reunite with family members in the United States are thought to be the cause of such surge, some have argued that policies allowing undocumented youth to stay in the country –most notably the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), may have lured young undocumented children with false rumors that they will be allowed to stay. Using the data on apprehensions of unaccompanied children by Border Patrol sector, nationality and year, this paper aims to explore the role played by DACA, as compared to that of other push and pull factors, in explaining the recent surge in unaccompanied children.

  See paper

Presented in Session 165: Unauthorized and Irregular Immigration