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Serving Refugee Children

Listening to Stories of Detention in the USA

Edited By Montse Feu and Amanda Venta

Serving Refugee Children shows the struggles and traumatic experiences that unaccompanied and undocumented children undergo they seek safety in the United States and instead find imprisonment, separation from their families, and immigration enforcement raids. Current legislation and bureaucracy limit publication of first-person narratives from unaccompanied and undocumented children, but service providers and grassroots activists authoring the pieces in this collection bear witness to the children’s brave human spirits in their search for safety in the United States. Through the power of storytelling, Serving Refugee Children exposes the many hardships unaccompanied and undocumented children endure, including current detention center conditions. No child should have to live the persecution suffered by children featured in these stories, nor should they have to embark upon perilous journeys across Latin America or be subjected to the difficult immigration court process unaided. Researchers and readers who believe that the emotional bonding of storytelling can humanize discussions and lead to immigration policies that foster a culture of engagement and interconnectedness will be interested in this volume.

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Serving Refugee Children: Listeningto Stories of Detention in the USA

“For reasons both ethical and bureaucratic, child migrants rarely tell their own stories. Yet the world needs to hear them if we are to find a way to end their suffering. In this valuable collection of reflections by activists and scholars, the reader begins to hear children’s voices, to understand the lives of their caregivers, and to gain the possibility to stand with them in solidarity.”

—Donna R. Gabaccia, Professor Emerita, University of Toronto

“Serving Refugee Children is timely and it’s essential. The historical context provided by the introduction is a fact often neglected when trying to understand the desperate act of leaving everything behind in search of—not a better life but often, simply—a life.

The narratives of service providers that have come out of their experience caring for detained youth are an invaluable historical record and everlasting testimony. They reveal the human cost of policies fashioned by ideologues blinded by their own prejudices. The simple act of listening to the stories of these children dignifies their saga and is, in itself, an act of social justice.”

—Luis Argueta, Director of the Documentary SeriesabUSEd: The Postville Raid, ABRAZOS, and The U Turn

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