A Better “Best Interests”: Immigration Policy in a Comparative Context

Michele Statz, Lauren Heidbrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This conceptual article examines the role and limitations of the best interests standard in international and domestic policy, with a particular focus on how the standard is implicated in the treatment of unaccompanied minors in the United States. Motivated by emergent interdisciplinary scholarship on global youth and informed by a comparative consideration of best interests across other professions, we propose a new model of best interests. This model calls for a multidimensional recognition of youths’ family-, community- and decision-making contexts; acknowledgment of youths’ rights; and a commitment to speaking with, rather than for, young people. What results is a novel and dynamic understanding of best interests with relevance to scholars, practitioners, and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-386
Number of pages22
JournalLaw and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


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