From October 2013 to September 2015, U.S.
Customs and Border Protection apprehended
more than 102,000 unaccompanied minors
from Central America and Mexico at the U.S.-Mexico border. An issue brief from the Migration
Policy Institute details the scope of the situation,
explains how the U.S. immigration system is handling these cases, and documents the challenges
these children face, often including recovery from
trauma and gaps in formal education. The brief
also notes how school districts serving unaccompanied minors have responded to the influx.
The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement has
released 77,194 unaccompanied minors to live in
communities throughout the United States. States
with large existing Latino populations—like California and Texas—received the most minors, but
other states have also taken in substantial numbers.
Local school districts bear most of the cost
of educating unaccompanied minors. The brief
includes links to several federal programs that can
provide states and local education agencies with
additional funds for this effort. It also highlights
strategies affected school districts have used to
serve these students. For instance, Montgomery
County, Maryland, welcomed 1,571 unaccom-
panied child migrants between October 2013
and August 2015. The district created a job skills
program for older unaccompanied immigrant
students, who sometimes find they can’t accrue
enough credits to graduate from high school by
the time they reach the maximum enrollment age.
The report, Unaccompanied Child Migrants
in U.S. Communities, Immigration Court, and
Schools by Sarah Pierce, is available at www.
© ERIC GAY/APWIDEWORLD PHO TOS
How Are Schools Helping
Unaccompanied Migrant Students?
In spring 2014, authors Ellen Oh and
Malinda Lo took to Twitter to comment on
the lack of diverse authors slated to appear
at a BookCon panel about children’s and YA
literature. Soon, #WeNeedDiverseBooks was
born. People from around the world used
the hashtag to express why diverse books
matter to the young readers in their lives.
The We Need Diverse Books website
( www.weneeddiversebooks.org) is a hub for
the movement, featuring contests, grants,
and opportunities to get involved. The
site also features a rich listing of resources,
available at www.weneeddiversebooks.org
/where-to-find-diverse-books, to help
educators and parents identify diverse books.
Where to Find Diverse Books