Promoting a Child Rights-Based Approach to Immigration in the United States

37 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2018

See all articles by Olga Byrne

Olga Byrne

Human Rights First; Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: March 2018


This article argues that immigration policymakers, activists, and programs should implement a child rights-based approach to immigration in the United States based on the key principles of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Children impacted by immigration policies suffer from the lack of a comprehensive legal framework protecting their rights in the context of migration. There is no federal child rights framework in the U.S., and state child welfare laws and policies have limited influence over U.S. immigration policy. While the U.S. has failed to ratify the CRC, the Convention can nevertheless serve as a conceptual model for developing principled and impactful initiatives responding to today's migration-related challenges. This article provides a broad analysis of U.S. immigration policies and practices as they relate to children through the lens of the four key principles of the CRC, and highlights promising initiatives, such as legal service models providing "universal representation" and various state and local-level policy reforms.

Keywords: Children, Migration, Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Byrne, Olga, Promoting a Child Rights-Based Approach to Immigration in the United States (March 2018). Georgetown Immigration Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Olga Byrne (Contact Author)

Human Rights First ( email )

100 Maryland Avenue, NE
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002
United States

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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