Addressing the Unaccompanied Minor Crisis: Insights from the 2nd Annual Unaccompanied Minors – Welcome Fair


Addressing the Unaccompanied Minor Crisis: Insights from the 2nd Annual Unaccompanied Minors – Welcome Fair

Dr. Soraya Fallah

On May 25, 2023, I had the opportunity to join like-minded professionals at the 2nd Annual Unaccompanied Minors – Welcome Fair. This event, hosted by the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Los Angeles County Office of Business Affairs, was held in Los Angeles.

We participated on behalf of the Migrant/Refugee Education Program of LAUSD, a federally funded initiative designed to enrich and respond to the educational and health needs of migrant children. The event aimed to provide essential assistance with DPSS programs and enrollment to support unaccompanied minors.

Many other organizations participated, including the Los Angeles County Office of First District, Immigrant Affairs, Office of Education / LACOE, Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project (co-host), USC, and more.

Our collective efforts were dedicated to ensuring these vulnerable children have access to essential services and support, helping them integrate into the community. Addressing the unaccompanied minor crisis requires both humanitarian considerations and legal processes. It is crucial to find compassionate solutions while ensuring due process for these children.

Background on the Unaccompanied Minor Crisis

The unaccompanied minor crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border remains a pressing humanitarian concern. When President Biden took office, he reversed several restrictive immigration policies from the previous administration. Despite these changes, the administration has faced significant challenges in managing the influx of migrants at the border. The crisis is exacerbated by the inhumane conditions in detention facilities across the United States, a problem that has been a subject of debate since the 1990s. These discussions often focus on the management of immigrants and their children concerning education, welfare, and political systems.

A critical aspect of this crisis is the plight of unaccompanied minors. These children, often sent alone and at the mercy of human smugglers, face uncertain futures and significant dangers. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) works to find relatives or sponsors within the U.S. to care for these minors. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has left thousands of unaccompanied minors stranded in grossly inadequate Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities.

The situation is further complicated by the legal status of these children. In 2019, CBP apprehended over 56,000 unaccompanied minors, who remain without legal status until their cases are adjudicated, resulting in limited due process. Activists, such as the Immigrant Child Advocacy Network, argue that the large number of unaccompanied minors in inadequate facilities necessitates immediate action.


- Migrant Education Program (MEP) LAUSD: [MEP - Migrant Education Program / Home](


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