Undocumented Students and the Policies of Wasted Potential

Undocumented Students and the Policies of Wasted Potential

Undocumented Students and the Policies of Wasted Potential

Undocumented Students and the Policies of Wasted Potential

Synopsis

Lopez’s ethnographic research focuses on college-ready, undocumented high school students and the teacher allies that assisted in these students’ attempts to access higher education. She uses North Carolina as a test case. There policies made it difficult, if not financially impossible, for nearly every undocumented student to access college. Despite the academic achievements and resiliency of the undocumented students in the K-12 system, current state and federal policies prohibit undocumented students from pursuing any realistic post-secondary options. Lopez argues that the United States is losing out on an opportunity to capitalize on the transnational capital undocumented students possess from their experiences in two cultures. Particular attention is paid to how undocumented students positioned themselves at school.

Excerpt

The kids will find a way to get things. They are extremely
resourceful, so that’s why the college thing: sometimes I get
down about it, and other times, I don’t because the population is
very resourceful and they have overcome things, all kinds of
things. Every kid that you have met at that school has come
across that desert, in some way they have crossed that desert.
Sometimes the cross is easy; sometimes it’s very difficult.
Sometimes people barely managed to survive, so they have been
through the fire in ways that other kids haven’t, and they take it
all in stride. It’s a wonderful quality. -John, teacher

Today, statistics show that approximately 80,000 undocumented students reach high school graduation age every year in the United States. The nearly 65,000 of them who will graduate, have also been living in the country for five years or more (Gonzales, 2009). The undocumented high school student population in the Southeastern United States is an

This estimated number includes undocumented students from different countries of origin. This research focuses on Mexican-Origin immigrants, the largest immigrant group in North Carolina in 2007.

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