Who Are Unaccompanied Minors at the Border?

This community has always cared intensely and kept an eye on what is happening with vulnerable immigrant and refugee children. In 2018 Christian women were at the forefront of those crying out against family separation.

While much has changed in the past few years there are still dire needs of children around the world and showing up at the U.S. borders. It can be confusing and hard to navigate all the nuances surrounding children and families. We hope this helps guide your understanding, prayers, and advocacy.

Who are UACs?

Often abbreviated UACs (Unaccompanied Alien Child) are children under the age of 18 who are not with a biological parent or legal guardian.

Are Minors Traveling Alone to the United States?

Being labeled as a UAC doesn’t always mean the child was traveling alone. They may have been with an older sibling, aunt or uncle, grandparent, or other relative or friend of the family who does not have legal guardianship. However, by law, they are considered unaccompanied children.

Why Do Unaccompanied Minors Come to the U.S.?

More than 80% of unaccompanied minors have a family member in the United States, so they are often trying to reunite with family. In more than 40% of the cases, the child’s family member in the U.S. is a parent or legal guardian.

“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last twenty years. We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children,” says the Department of Homeland Security.

What Can We Do?

  • Pray (Join together with other Women of Welcome to pray. In August 2022, our prayer groups are focusing on prayers for immigrant and refugee children).
  • Consider becoming a transitional foster family
  • Volunteer at a shelter
  • Support local shelters receiving UACs
  • Advocate for safe, human treatment of children