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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/or undocumented children undergo when seeking safety in the United States and find instead imprisonment, separation from their families, and ICE raids in what would have become their neighborhoods. Current legislation and bureaucracy limit first-person narratives from these children, but service providers and grassroots activist authoring the pieces in this collection bear witness to the children’s brave human spirits in their search for safety and their arrival in the United States. Through the power of storytelling, Serving Refugee Children exposes current detention center conditions while also protecting detained children. 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 the general public who believe that the emotional bonding of telling stories continues to humanize discussions and who want immigration policies that foster a culture of engagement and interconnectedness will be interested in this volume.

“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 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 Series abUSEd: The Postville Raid, ABRAZOS, and The U Turn