Transnational aspirations: Unaccompanied Latinx immigrant youth’s undocumented labor migration, financial responsibilities, and opportunities for mobility in young adulthood

Awarded Scholars:
Stephanie Canizales, University of California, Merced
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:
$29,816

This study investigates a segment of the undocumented youth population often ignored by immigration and social inequality scholars: long-settled undocumented Latinx minors who migrate to the U.S. to work. Canizales will examine the extent to which unaccompanied minor migration is a family survival and mobility strategy. To what extent do unaccompanied, undocumented youth workers in the U.S. remain tied to their home communities via familial obligations? When are social and economic obligations activated, how do youths respond, and how do these obligations shape life in the U.S. as youth come of age? To answer these questions, Canizales will draw on original data that integrates four years of ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews with Latinx young adults who arrived in the U.S. as unaccompanied minors prior to the current migration crisis. She expects that transnational familial obligations are dynamic and may be critical in shaping the incorporation trajectories of these youth workers supporting left-behind families.

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