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Laura Enriquez, University of California Irvine

Of Love and Papers: Forming Families in the Shadows of Immigration Policy
When May 01, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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Co-sponsored by the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity

About the Presentation

Previous research has documented the devastating effects that immigration policies have on immigrants and their families, particularly in terms of deportation threats and prolonged family separation. Building on this, I explore how a wider variety of immigration policies impact the family formation experiences of undocumented young adults who came to the U.S. as children. Drawing on 284 interviews with Latina/o undocumented and recently legalized young adults and their romantic partners, I examine the shared consequences of policies that sanction undocumented immigrants by imposing 1) deportation threats, 2) an inability to legally obtain employment, 3) restricted access to a state-issued driver’s license or ID card, and 4) limited pathways to legalization through marriage. I advance the concept of “context of illegality” wherein immigration-related laws structure a unique social context that is occupied by all individuals regardless of their immigration statuses. I argue that the everyday consequences of illegality compound over time as undocumented young adults and their romantic partners negotiate their immigration status and make family formation decisions. As a result, the consequences of their illegality persist, even as they transition into DACA status, permanent residency, or citizenship. In all, my findings document the long-term and relatively irreversible consequences of illegality on the futures of undocumented immigrants and their family members.

About the Speaker

Laura Enriquez

Dr. Laura Enriquez is Assistant Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at UC Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA. Her research explores a range of issues related to the educational, economic, political, and social experiences of undocumented young adults who immigrated to the United States as children. She has published multiple articles on the complex role that immigration status plays in the everyday lives of undocumented young adults. Currently she is working on a book manuscript that explores how immigration-related laws and policies shape the dating, marriage, and parenting experiences of undocumented immigrant young adults and impact their romantic partners and children. Her newest project is a collaboration with undocumented and allies students and faculty aimed at assessing the educational experiences and resources available to UC undocumented college students.

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