Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Josiah M. Heyman


It is said that immigration is approaching historic levels, and it is believed that one-third of the foreign-born population in the United States is undocumented. By examining the available research on Central American families that migrate to the United States, it seems plausible to argue that one of the main causes for migration is the lack of employment opportunities in their home country. The purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between the migration of Central American youth and low employment opportunities. The paper intends to address the following questions. Is lack of employment opportunities a cause for children to migrate to the US? Could children have other factors that motivate them to migrate to the US? To study the causes and effects of migration of Central American youth, a qualitative, secondary analysis of immigration court cases was used. The examiner evaluated fifteen court cases found on the database Lexis-Nexis. They were evaluated to determine the factors that motivated the children to migrate to the United States. The examiner presented the findings in the format of narrative case histories that highlight the causes of migration and the trends found throughout the cases analyzed. Results showed that youth migrate to the United States primarily for non-economic reasons. The majority of children migrated to the United States for fear of gangs. Other causes of migration include family reunification and family violence. Through the analysis of the documents there emerged another motivator for children to migrate; according to the court cases the majority of children that migrated had prior experience or exposure with migration.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

59 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Jacquelin Hawley

Included in

Sociology Commons