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Lauren Markham

Lauren Markham is the author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life (Crown, 2017). Based in Berkeley, California, her work has appeared in Harper’s, Freeman’s, the Guardian, Guernica, California Sunday, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor to VQR.


Illustration by Jen Renninger

No End in Sight

March 2, 2020 | Reporting

What happens when immigrant-rights advocates reach a breaking point?

By Juan Carlos

Prince of Peace

Fall 2016 | Profiles

San Salvador’s upstart mayor, Nayib Bukele, has promised a new way forward for a city besieged by decades of violence. His biggest obstacle, however, may not be the city’s gangs, but the city’s idea of itself.

Photos by Lauren Markham


December 14, 2015 | Articles

The second installment of #VQRTrueStory—our new social-media experiment in which stories and images cross platforms, from Instagram to the website to the magazine—features Lauren Markham reporting on migrants in Central America.

An American Humanitarian Crisis?

June 23, 2014 | Essays

The surge in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the US border is so alarming that President Barack Obama described it as “an urgent humanitarian situation.” Following the president’s comments, the federal government announced a $2 million legal-aid program to help provide legal assistance to these kids, who normally must navigate the immigration-court system without representation. Given the overwhelming number of these kids, how far can $2 million go?

The border fence, Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

First the Fence, Then the System

Summer 2013 | Reporting

In early June, President Obama declared the wave of unaccompanied minors crossing illegally into the US—a number expected to reach 90,000 this year—an “urgent humanitarian situation.” While FEMA now coordinates their basic care, the federal government announced a paltry $2 million legal-aid program to provide unaccompanied minors legal representation—something the vast majority of them do not receive. Last year, Lauren Markham reported from the Rio Grande Valley on the legal limbo in which thousands of these kids—many of whom might qualify for asylum—find themselves.

Immigrant Kids in Limbo

July 15, 2013 | Reporting

Children crossing the border alone are one of the fastest-growing and most vulnerable demographics of undocumented immigrants in the United States. In recent years, the number of unaccompanied minors transferred from DHS to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has more than doubled, from 6,560 in fiscal year 2011 to 13,625 in fiscal year 2012—and more than 14,000 transferred to ORR in the eight months since then.