Thesis

School-to-prison pipeline: voicing the experience of the undocumented student population

The current presidents' administration rhetoric reminds us that the ideological framework employed on immigration is to criminalize the Latino community. With a population of over one million undocumented youth in school and a criminalizing climate it is important to examine how the education system can criminalize undocumented students and impact their education and lives. The current disciplinary and punitive policies have led to what many scholars refer to the school-to-prison pipeline. Policies, such as zero-tolerance, work to criminalize underrepresented students, including undocumented students, and as a result many undocumented youths are pushed out from schools and into the juvenile and criminal legal systems. A review of literature on the school-to-prison pipeline and on undocumented students' education reveals an erasure of the experiences of criminalization of undocumented youth. By using the literature review and analyzing the narratives of two undocumented college students, I address some of these erasures. These include the criminalization and academic challenges undocumented youth face in the school-to-prison pipeline that could place them in prison and face deportation. By examining the experiences of criminalization of undocumented youth we bring the movement to end the school-to-prison pipeline in conversation with the experiences of undocumented students. This produces a much broader definition of social justice than what is offered by the current school-to-prison pipeline literature.

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