College of Arts & Sciences

Children of a Global Age

What Can We Learn from the Stories of Undocumented Students?

Research Team

The project just started in summer 2011 under the directorship of Dr. Akiko Yasuike (sociology). The objective of the project is to obtain the personal narratives of those who grew up in the United States without legal status and analyze the impact of not having legal status on their social life, educational experiences and identity development. It will particularly focus on exploring factors that have helped such individuals to succeed academically despite enormous challenges.

The project will also reveal the impact of contradictory state and federal policies involving undocumented immigration on individuals without legal status who have been admitted to universities. While the federal government has a policy of deporting immigrants who lack immigration documents to their countries of origin, the State of California has passed AB 540, which allows undocumented students to be admitted to state universities as California residents. Though at first glance the fact that these students can access California higher education appears beneficial, the impact of contradictory state and federal immigration policies on these undocumented students has not been fully explored.

This project adopts a model of faculty-student collaboration on social science research and empowers student research associates with self-confidence and practical skills that benefit their future career endeavors. Four first generation college students who are social science majors are chosen to work with the faculty on the project. The four student researchers selected will have the opportunity to grow and experience success as the project evolves.

Dr. Yasuike received a Faculty Research & Creative Work grant ($3,669) for this project in 2011.