Immigration Policy and the Making of Unequal Educations
Laura E. Enriquez

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Irvine

Primary Discipline

Previous research has established that undocumented immigration status contributes to lower educational outcomes for undocumented young adults and the citizen children of undocumented parents. Yet, few studies have situated these within the broader context of immigration policy which is multilayered, constantly shifting, and fosters shared consequences within families. This project focuses attention on the immigration policy context to demonstrate how unequal outcomes emerge and what educational institutions can do to intervene. I draw on ten years of interview and original survey data spanning six projects with Californian undergraduate students. I examine undocumented college students� experiences: 1) over time to assess how educational experiences and outcomes have shifted due to the changing federal and state immigration policy context, and 2) contextualize them within their institutional context to assess if, how, and the extent to which educational institutions can moderate the effects of the current immigration policy context on academic performance, educational engagement, and post-graduate preparation. Further, I examine how and the extent to which current immigration policy context disrupts the educational experiences and outcomes of U.S. citizen students with undocumented parents. Findings will guide educational institutions and practitioners in how to advance educational equity among this marginalized student population.
About Laura E. Enriquez
Laura Enriquez is an Assistant Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on the educational, political, and social experiences of undocumented young adults who immigrated to the United States as children. Her book, Of Love and Papers: How Immigration Policy Affects Romance and Family (University of California Press, 2020) explores how immigration policy is fundamentally reshaping Latino families as illegality creeps into the most personal aspects of everyday life, intersecting with gender to constrain family formation. She currently leads two related initiatives ? the UC Collaborative for Immigrant and Student Equity (UC PromISE) and the Undocumented Student Equity Project (USEP) ? both dedicated to conducting research to identify best practices for advancing educational equity for undocumented students and students from mixed-status families. Dr. Enriquez received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a former Ford Foundation Predoctoral (2008) and Dissertation (2013) Fellow, and UCI Chancellor?s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellow (2014).

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