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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Language Socialization Experiences of Mixed-Status Mexican Families Living in the New Latino Diaspora

  • Author(s): Mangual, Ariana
  • Advisor(s): Baquedano-Lopez, Patricia
  • et al.

This twenty-three month ethnographic study seeks to understand how citizenship status impacts the everyday lives of undocumented youth in mixed-status families, examining their experiences at home, in public schools, and community settings. The focal participants in this study lived in Millvalley, Pennsylvania (a pseudonym) and were mixed-status families in which the parents and eldest siblings were undocumented migrants from Mexico and the younger siblings were U.S. citizens by birth. This research examines three critical issues: first, the home and school learning experiences of mixed-status Mexican families, second, the way that language use functions as the central medium through which migrant families co-construct their identities, and third, the local policy shifts that occur in response to emerging Spanish-speaking communities. The findings indicate that migratory status influenced the ways in which parents and children engaged in or discussed educational activities, and these activities varied according to the ages of the focal children. At the same time, there were shared linguistic resources that all families used to co-construct national identity and to account for the relationship between citizenship and education. In addition to contributing theoretical and methodological insights about undocumented migrant youth attending U.S. public schools, the findings from this study can inform the development of educational pedagogy and policy in a growing number of post-industrial urban centers where mixed-status Mexican communities are beginning to emerge.

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