Child Welfare Systems and Migrant Children: A Cross Country Study of Policies and Practice

By Marit Skivenes; Ravinder Barn et al. | Go to book overview

8
THE UNITED STATES:
CHILD PROTECTION IN THE CONTEXT OF COMPETING
POLICY MANDATES

Ilze Earner and Katrin Križ


INTRODUCTION

In common parlance, the United States is often referred to as “an immigrant country.” This is an accurate epithet if one considers the country’s migration history,1 increasing levels of immigration in the past decades (Waters et al., 2008), and the number of foreign-born individuals in the United States, which is the highest of any country in the world (Pison, 2010): in 2010, 40 million people, out of a total population of 309,350,000, were foreign born. However, can the United States also be called “a country for immigrants”—especially a country supportive of the well-being of immigrant children, youth, and families? In this context, the evidence is ambivalent and contradictory when it comes to the country’s public policy environment. For instance, deportations of undocumented immigrants have risen to record levels under the Obama administration (Lopez & Gonzalez-Barrera, 2013), while more people are immigrating using the so-called “E-B5 immigrant investor visa” program— a program that awards special visas to people who invest a minimum of $1 million in the US economy (National Public Radio, 2013; USCIS, 2013). On the other hand, in 2012 President Obama issued an executive order that protected those young people from deportation who migrated to the United States before they were 16 years old through “deferred action for childhood arrivals” (Majorkas, 2012). This chapter highlights the challenges that the US

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