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The impact of the U.S. immigration and legal systems on children and youth In the United States, millions of children are undocumented migrants or have family members who came to the country without authorization. The unique challenges with which these children and youth must cope demand special attention. Illegal Encounters considers illegality, deportability, and deportation in the lives of young people—those who migrate as well as those who are affected by the migration of others. A primary focus of the volume is to understand how children and youth encounter, move through, or are outside of a range of legal processes, including border enforcement, immigration detention, federal custody, courts, and state processes of categorization. Even if young people do not directly interact with state immigration systems—because they are U.S. citizens or have avoided detention—they are nonetheless deeply affected by the reach of the government in its many forms. Contributors privilege the voices and everyday experiences of immigrant children and youth themselves. By combining different perspectives from advocates, service providers, attorneys, researchers, and young immigrants, the volume presents rich accounts that can contribute to informed debates and policy reforms. Illegal Encounters sheds light on the unique ways in which policies, laws, and legal categories shape so much of daily life for young immigrants. The book makes visible the burdens, hopes, and potential of a population of young people and their families who have been largely hidden from public view and are currently under siege, following their movement through complicated immigration systems and institutions in the United States.
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