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The Childhood, Law & Policy Network (CLPN)

Watch our book discussion: Child Migration and the Geopolitics of Compassion

Our members, Prof. Anita Casavantes Bradford (University of California Irvine, US) and Dr. Francesca Meloni (King’s College London, UK), discussed Anita's book, Suffer the Little Children: Child Migration and the Geopolitics of Compassion in the United States. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Hedi Viterbo (Queen Mary University of London, UK).


The book is the first comprehensive historical analysis of unaccompanied child migration to the United States from 1930 to present day. The book argues that the US response to unaccompanied child migration has been consistently driven by a geopolitics of compassion that prioritises foreign policy and domestic political objectives over children’s best interests.

The speaker, Anita Casavantes Bradford, is Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California Irvine. She is a scholar of immigration, race and ethnicity, foreign relations, critical refugee studies, and childhood. Among her publications are two books – Suffer the Little Children: Child Migration and the Geopolitics of Compassion in the United States (University of North Carolina, 2022) and The Revolution is for the Children: The Politics of Childhood in Havana and Miami, 1959–1962 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) – as well as numerous journal articles.

The discussant, Francesca Meloni, is Lecturer in Social Justice at King's College London. Her research focuses on contemporary processes of migration and social exclusion. She is interested in the interface between migration, policy, race, and age, and in the impact of legal status on the experiences of belonging and access to social services. She has a background in anthropology and over 15 years of experience conducting ethnographic research in migration contexts in the UK, Canada, and Italy.

The moderator, Hedi Viterbo, is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Law at Queen Mary University of London, and the Founding Director of the Childhood, Law & Policy Network. His research examines legal issues concerning childhood, state violence, and sexuality from an interdisciplinary and global perspective. His latest book is Problematizing Law, Rights, and Childhood in Israel/Palestine.

The event took place at Queen Mary University of London and online in April 2024. It was co-sponsored by the (B)OrderS Centre for the Legal Study of Borders and Migration (directred by Prof. Violeta Moreno-Lax) and the Childhood, Law & Policy Network.



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