Undocumented Latino College Students: Their Socioemotional and Academic Experiences

Synopsis

Pérez and Cortés examine how undocumented Latino community college students cope with the challenges created by their legal status. They find that students experience feelings of shame, anger, despair, marginalization, and uncertainty stemming from discrimination, anti-immigrant sentiment, fear of deportation, and systemic barriers (e.g., ineligibility for financial aid). Despite moments of despair and an uncertain future, rather than become dejected, students reframe their circumstances in positive terms. Findings also highlight the importance of student advocates on campus, as well as the need to educate college personnel. The conclusion discusses the socioemotional implications of students' ongoing legal marginality, and makes suggestions for institutional practices.