Thesis

Documented with undocumented histories: the intersectionality of race, class, gender and legal status

Among sociological scholarship, the shortage of qualitative work on legal permanent residents has limited the understanding of formerly undocumented immigrants who transition from undocumented to documented. This study examines the intersection of gender, race, class, and legal status among recently documented Latinas in Sacramento, California. The three guiding research questions include: 1) How do 1.5 generation, formerly undocumented, Latinas describe their experience in their trajectories from undocumented to documented; 2) Does gaining legal status alter educational or occupational aspirations?; 3) Do support groups or community networks exist to support this population through the legalization process? A multiracial feminist perspective and intersectionality theory were utilized as guiding theoretical frameworks. Employing a qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews, 11 interviews were completed with formerly undocumented women in the first five years of legal permanent residency. The results demonstrate two distinct legalization experiences: those who legalized through a parent petition and those applied through a marital petition. Additionally, three narratives were presented to demonstrate the role of legal status on educational and occupational aspirations. Ultimately, the goal of this scholarship is to produce new theories of understanding transitions to legality through an intersectional lens. Thus, my work contributes to the scope and frequency of intersectionality theory within sociological work and to the understanding of the complex role of legal status status in the post-legality lives of formerly undocumented Latinas.

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2016.

Among sociological scholarship, the shortage of qualitative work on legal permanent residents has limited the understanding of formerly undocumented immigrants who transition from undocumented to documented. This study examines the intersection of gender, race, class, and legal status among recently documented Latinas in Sacramento, California. The three guiding research questions include: 1) How do 1.5 generation, formerly undocumented, Latinas describe their experience in their trajectories from undocumented to documented; 2) Does gaining legal status alter educational or occupational aspirations?; 3) Do support groups or community networks exist to support this population through the legalization process? A multiracial feminist perspective and intersectionality theory were utilized as guiding theoretical frameworks. Employing a qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews, 11 interviews were completed with formerly undocumented women in the first five years of legal permanent residency. The results demonstrate two distinct legalization experiences: those who legalized through a parent petition and those applied through a marital petition. Additionally, three narratives were presented to demonstrate the role of legal status on educational and occupational aspirations. Ultimately, the goal of this scholarship is to produce new theories of understanding transitions to legality through an intersectional lens. Thus, my work contributes to the scope and frequency of intersectionality theory within sociological work and to the understanding of the complex role of legal status status in the post-legality lives of formerly undocumented Latinas.

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