Speaker Series: Chiara Galli
More children than ever are crossing international borders alone to seek asylum worldwide. In the past decade, over a half million children have fled from Central America to the United States, seeking safety and a chance to continue lives halted by violence. Yet upon their arrival, they fail to find the protection that our laws promise, based on the broadly shared belief that children should be safeguarded. A meticulously researched ethnography, Precarious Protections chronicles the experiences and perspectives of Central American unaccompanied minors and their immigration attorneys as they pursue applications for refugee status in the U.S. asylum process. Chiara Galli debunks assumptions about asylum, including the idea that people are being denied protection because they file bogus claims. In practice, the United States interprets asylum law far more narrowly than what is necessary to recognize real-world experiences of escape from life-threatening violence. This is especially true for children from Central America. Galli reveals the formidable challenges of lawyering with children and exposes the human toll of the U.S. immigration bureaucracy.
To register for this event, contact Sophie Kofman at email@example.com.
Chiara Galli is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago and an ABF/JPB Access to Justice Scholar for 2022-23. She studies the profession of public interest immigration lawyering and the effects of the law on the lives of vulnerable groups of undocumented immigrants, including children and asylum-seekers.
Her book, Precarious Protections: Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum in the U.S. (University of California Press, 2023), is based on ethnographic research that she conducted in legal clinics in Los Angeles during the Obama and Trump administrations and chronicles the experiences and perspectives of Central American unaccompanied minors and their immigration attorneys as they pursue applications for refugee status in the U.S. asylum process.