Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

A “Master Status” or the “Final Straw”? Assessing the Role of Immigration Status in Latino Undocumented Youths’ Pathways Out of School

  • Author(s): Enriquez, Laura Elise
  • et al.
The data associated with this publication are not available for this reason: Confidentiality

Previous research on undocumented youth and young adults in the United States asserts that immigration status is a “master status” wherein undocumented status overshadows the impact of other social locations. Drawing primarily on interviews with 45 Latina/o undocumented immigrant youth who stopped out of school, I assess whether the “master status” explanation accurately characterizes how immigration status shapes undocumented youths’ pathways out of school. Using an intersectional lens, I argue that multiple social locations disrupt educational pathways and set the stage for immigration status to emerge as the “final straw” that pushes undocumented youth to leave school. Specifically, I show how race, class, gender, and first-generation college student status heavily shape undocumented youths’ educational journeys. I find that their resistance to these other forms of marginalization is weakened by the emerging salience of undocumented status as a severe, relatively insurmountable legal barrier. I highlight the process through which these multiple social locations work together to lead undocumented youth to stop out of school. I contend that using an intersectional lens enhances understandings of how multiple social locations intersect and interact over time to marginalize immigrants.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View