PhD student Luis Tenorio has been awarded an ASA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant for his project, "Making the Transition: A Comparative Analysis of Formerly Undocumented, Now Legal Permanent Resident Latinos in the United States."
Over the last few decades, research has illustrated various detrimental socio-economic impacts that stem from undocumented status in the United States. These findings lead us to believe that if undocumented individuals were able to obtain legal status via legal permanent residency or obtaining a green card, their socio-economic conditions may improve considerably. However, insights from existing research are mixed and limited. In addition, studies have outlined how perceptions of illegality—which may inform socio-economic conditions—are based more in racial tropes than actual legal status. This project seeks to understand what, if any, transformative socio-economic effects obtaining documented status has for formerly undocumented Latinos, as well as the mechanisms by which these occur. More specifically, I study the socio-economic life histories of formerly undocumented Latinos via in-depth interviews in three metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago. The results of this project have implications for understanding the enduring effects of undocumented status and how legal status can catalyze social dynamics which produce measurable effects on people’s lives that go beyond rights-holding.