Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2015 Lily Austin. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Latin American & Latino Studies Program

First Advisor

Elaine Brenneman

Second Advisor

Milton Machuca-Gálvez


This paper explores the recent surge in migration of Unaccompanied minors (UAC) from Central America, in the context of addressing whether or not the U.S. is addressing the migrants' protection needs. A review of the historical context and the two most popular legal options for relief demonstrates that UACs from Central America evidence significant protection needs from widespread violence, and that the U.S. is not clearly meeting said needs. The paper explores how asylum needs to be expanded, as well as how a second popular category for relief, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), is an important piece of current patchwork oflegal options, but needs to be handled with sensitivity to developmental and cross-cultural considerations.