Sociology of the Transnational Child: The Case Study of Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors from the Northern Triangle

Hansel Alejandro, Aguilar Avila - Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home


The current global migration crisis has had a profound impact on family structures and dynamics. In the past few decades, scholars have paid increasing attention to the changing realities of families in transnational spheres through the: conceptualisation of the transnational family; ethnographic studies on transnational child-rearing practices; demographic analyses of cross-border families and more. As member of family units, children have naturally been part of the discussion, however few studies have explored the transnational child as the unit of analysis. In an effort in bridging the gap between transnationalism and the sociology of the family, this work utilises the vantage point of transnational children to further develop the sociology of the transnational child. Of special focus in this chapter are unaccompanied immigrant minors (UIMs) from the Northern Triangle who have been displaced by a myriad of social issues and or seek reunification with parents or other family members who have (re)settled in the United States. By exploring the lived experience within the various stages of the reunification process (i.e. separation, reunification, and post-reunification) for UIMs seeking refuge in the United States, social scientists can further analyse how the transnational child experiences and is positioned within the transnational family.