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Merging Social Work and Social Advocacy in Response to the Plight of Unaccompanied Child Refugees in the United States
Introduction
More than any country in the world, the United States has been a haven for refugees fleeing religious and political persecution in their home countries. Linked forever to the phrase inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the United States, in the eyes of persecuted people throughout the world, has been idealized as a land of freedom and new beginnings. However, the changing face of refugees seeking asylum in the United States in the past several decades has exposed stark gaps in the legal, administrative, and social treatment of refugees. The majority of refugees in the early part of the twentieth century fled as families or in large groups. Recently, however, increasing numbers of children are fleeing their home countries alone.
Currently, best estimates are that over one-half of the world’s refugee population, or over 20 million, are children.1 Human Rights Watch, a …
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