The Global Compacts and the Dilemma of Children in Immigration Detention

Vitit Muntarbhorn

International Journal of Refugee Law, 2019


The article examines the interface of the Global Compacts with children in immigration detention. The author notes that there are at least four groups of children who might be caught in immigration detention: (1) child victims of trafficking; (2) asylum seekers or refugees who find themselves in large camps or encampments beyond urban areas; (3) asylum seekers or refugees who end up in cities; and (4) migrant worker children and children who accompany migrant worker families, particularly those who are undocumented or in irregular situations. He also notes that the issue of children in immigration detention is dealt with by the Migration Compact rather than the Refugee Compact, even though this is an issue pertinent to both. He argues that commitments in the Migration Compact fall below the standard already applied by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which advocates resolutely against the immigration detention of children. A holistic response demands that the reference point for child protection, including children in immigration detention, must be the CRC and related standards.