Migration and Mobility: The Social Integration Challenges of Unaccompanied Refugee Minors & Youth in Canada

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Dabara, Daniel Mac
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Mount Saint Vincent Univertsity
Canada has experienced a significant influx of immigrants in recent decades, including unaccompanied refugee minors and youth (URM&Y). These young refugees face unique challenges due to the absence of parental support, making the phenomenon of URM&Y in Canada a prominent concern for immigration services. The purpose of this study is to investigate the specific challenges that URM&Y encounter in their social integration within Canada. In this study, six former URM&Y participated in open-ended qualitative interviews. The collected data underwent analysis using an open coding method and thematic analysis, with an interpretation guided by critical theory. This study critically analyzed the identified themes, focusing on the institutional and structural dominance present in society. Additionally, the study employed Critical Race Theory to examine the role of race and racial inequalities URM&Y, particularly those which people of black descent experienced. The study findings shed light on how the pre-migration experiences of these youth influenced the social integration challenges they faced in Canada. The findings also show how 1) systemic racial inequalities contribute to the social exclusion that is experienced by URM&Y; 2) discrimination and prejudice affects the successful integration of URM&Y ; 3) psychological and emotional challenges impede their success in social integration. This study concludes with recommendations and future research areas that should be explored. Major recommendations include: 1) Implementation of a Host-family system, whereby interested Canadian families can be paired with URM&Y refugees; 2) Organizing cultural orientations for URM&Y; 3) Instituting Translation services to help URM&Y.