U.S. border agents detained at least 52,000 unaccompanied minors from only four Central American countries—Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—in 2014, while 95,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in Europe in 2015. Given the ongoing turmoil in various parts of the world, these numbers will likely rise. Children are narrowly escaping their native countries. With little help available from legal counsel and little time to gather supporting evidence, more children are relying on the gamble of a positive credibility assessment in an asylum application.
The stakes are high—either a new life in the United States, or probable fatality at home if deported.The lives of all children should receive more security than the subjective judgment of the immigration official conducting the child’s credibility assessment. Current strategies used to increase the accuracy of credibility determinations are often misguided by outdated methodology. By implementing more robust, updated guidelines to increase the accuracy of credibility appraisals and ensuring that the recommendations are practiced with regularity, we can enhance the visibility of children facing persecution.
Smeda, Karen, "Truth or Dare: A Framework for Analyzing Credibility in Children Seeking Asylum" (2017). Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research Papers. 13.