The Stigma of Illegality: Children's Perspectives

A talk by Joanna Dreby (Sociology, University of Albany, State University of New York)

Friday, March 14, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Reading Room, 3340 Moore Hall

Today U.S. immigration policy is inflexible, enforcement efforts have intensified and immigration reform is at a national impasse.  In this talk, I consider the meaning of illegality for children in Mexican immigrant families living in two new destination communities, one in Ohio and one in New Jersey.   I draw on four years of ethnographic work including formal interviews with 201 family members (91 parents and 110 children) and visits with 12 families at their homes and children’s schools, to identify the conditions under which children become hyper aware of illegality. While for children in Ohio stigma was related to their ethnic/racial background, for children in New Jersey legal status differences may emerge as a salient feature of children’s peer group culture. 

Sponsor(s): Center for the Study of International Migration

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