A crisis for migrant children is unfolding on the borders of the United States. Children are being detained and separated from their families, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and creating toxic stress that threatens to harm their long-term development. UNICEF is committed to keeping families together, and to reuniting families that have been separated. Every child, regardless of his or her immigration status, has the right to be safe and protected.
UNICEF is bringing its decades of humanitarian expertise to help vulnerable immigrant children in the U.S. UNICEF USA, in consultation with partners, will work to support and expand existing protection measures including alternatives to detention, strengthening the sponsor system, legal assistance and advocacy.
Across the globe, nearly 50 million children have been uprooted, with 28 million fleeing brutal conflict and millions more escaping extreme poverty. This figure includes millions of children caught in wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the South Sudan — in more than a dozen countries. This figure also includes children driven from their homes by violence or deprivation and forced to make difficult and dangerous journeys abroad, children who are out of school and don’t know when they might return.
This child refugee crisis is the worst since World War II — a humanitarian emergency that demands immediate action. Whether these children are migrants, refugees or internally displaced, they are all children first. They don't choose where they're born. They urgently need — and deserve — our help now.
UNICEF is responding to this crisis across four continents: delivering lifesaving supplies to children and their families fleeing escalating violence in the Middle East and Northern Africa, providing water and tents to create safe spaces for the growing wave of children moving through Europe and working to improve the lives of children fleeing violence and abuse in Central America.