The Lives of Latina/o Children in Mixed Immigration Status Families

This study focused on the experiences of Latina/o undocumented and U.S. born children growing up in mixed immigration status families and explored how they navigate their worlds. This study was employed the method called, Photo Elicitation Interviews (PEI). Seven children took photographs to document what was important in their lives. They shared their photographs with the researcher, which led to discussions about the images they captured. The participants included 3 undocumented children and 4 U.S. born children, ranging in age from 11 to 14. Careful analysis of the photo interviews yielded the following five primary themes: children’s awareness of politics; deportation and fears of family separation; children’s play and fun interests; and the active role of technology and social media in their lives. The children in this study emphasized the fears of punitive immigration policies, including an acute awareness of the immigration statuses in their families. They reflected on their social realities, which was driven by fears, characterized by feelings of sadness, and experienced heightened awareness of deportation. Children in this study also demonstrated remarkable resilience and involvement as they incorporated their unique challenges into strategies of potential activism. Overall, this suggests maintained hope and optimism.