Neuropsychological and Legal Factors Affecting Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: a Review of the Literature and Case Study

Author(s): Antolin LLORENTE ; Charles SOONG ; Emily FRIEDRICH ; Brian SHIELDS ; Paul COHEN ; Ethan DIAS ; Sara LAWLESS ; Helen STEIGMEYER


The major legal and neuropsychological factors affecting unaccompanied immigrant children during the course of American immigration are reviewed and a case study provided. From a legal standpoint, the mental health of unaccompanied immigrant children is invariably impacted by US policy and regulations regarding immigration. Although some unaccompanied immigrant children may come to the USA after they have been granted refugee status abroad, the majority of unaccompanied immigrant minors come to the USA without proper documentation. Therefore in addition to facing the neuropsychological consequences of the likely past trauma or the impact of migration itself, they necessarily face either remaining illegally in the USA or coming into contact with an adversarial legal system and on enforcement model and not on the unique needs of children separated from a parent or adult guardian.


Neuropsychology ; Immigration ; Unaccompanied ; Law ; Children 

Tags: United States, Unaccompanied minors, Children, Adolescents, Youth, Refugees, Traumatic life events, Immigration policies, Family separation

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