Coming of age before the great expulsion: the story of the CILS-San Diego sample 25 years later

Cynthia Feliciano, University of California, Irvine
Publication Date:
Jan 2020

California was transformed by immigration in the 1980s. In 1991, a representative sample of children of immigrants and refugees was drawn from 8th/9th graders in San Diego’s public schools. These CILS respondents were followed for nearly 25 years, from early adolescence to their late thirties, combining surveys with in-depth qualitative interviews. The educational and cultural integration of this segment of the new second generation has been largely positive. These adult children of immigrants–from Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, India and elsewhere–have above average educational attainments and mainly think of themselves as mainstream Americans, outcomes produced in an inclusive multiethnic context with a strong and accessible public higher education system. But in the current national context of accelerated deportations and exclusions, and a continuing retreat from investments in public education, the future for the next generation of immigrants’ children is far from certain.


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