Ambiguity and identity: The moral career of undocumented young adults from mixed-status families

by Girsea Martinez

Institution: Texas Tech University
Year: 2016
Keywords: immigration; moral career; young adults
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2120504
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2346/67153


This paper explores the ways a marginalized group living on the edge of society creates a sense of identity and self-worth. Drawing on the concept of stigma (Goffman 1963), this paper traces the “moral career” of undocumented youth in mixed-status families. Drawing upon 17 interviews of documented and undocumented young adults, this study finds that children from mixed status families must face the realization of an ambiguous differentness throughout childhood and into early adulthood. Legal status plays a crucial role in the identity construction and management of undocumented youth of mixed-status families, and the relationship between ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and legal status is complex. This is further complicated by youths’ differential status within their own families and their peers. Advisors/Committee Members: Dunn, Jennifer (advisor), Flores-Yeffal, Nadia (committee member), Bradatan, Cristina (committee member).