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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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Chapter 7. Maria Baños Jordan


For Baños Jordan, linguistic and cultural barriers impact girls’ willingness to speak up and the ability to develop connections. Schools are ill-prepared to work with transitional communities, often with staff who is not diverse or not trained in diversity. For instance, they might not know how to work with different gender expectations in Latin America. Most young women have been taught not to be opinionated. In the workshops where she participated with Latina professionals, middle-school newcomers expressed the sense of exclusion from the school culture, the teasing from non-Latino classmates, the lack of compassion from some adults, and their anxieties about their parents’ struggle with poverty and legal status.

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