Degreed and in the shadows : journeys and Testimonios from Mexican undocumented college graduates in Texas

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Romo, Enrique

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This study sought to research and documents the experiences of a group of Mexican undocumented college graduates in the state of Texas. Mexican students were chosen for this study because they are the largest undocumented group residing not only in the United States, but also in the state of Texas. Furthermore, this study revealed perceived and real opportunities Mexican undocumented students have after college graduation. The study focused on college choice as aspirational capital, Latina/o critical race theory (LatCrit) through testimonios as counternarratives, social capital, and cultural wealth to frame a discussion on the post-college experiences of Mexican undocumented college graduates. Furthermore, the study provided a review of legislation and policies addressing the broader immigration context. Overall, this study concluded that for the participants in this study, social capital as well as cultural wealth played important roles in how critical connections and networks operated. After exposure to social capital, participants were able to build their own networks and by tailoring it to their unique needs, were able to help their community by providing access and information about the college admissions process and available options after college graduation. In doing so, they were able to adapt, thrive, and survive within racist and discriminatory societal structures. College choice played a pivotal part in this study, but given the participants’ immigration status, they were left to attend institutions in their home state of Texas. However, given the participants academic acumen, they were able to attend and graduate from the state’s premier public flagship institution. Through their testimonios, activism, and civic engagement the participants shared their experiences as undocumented college students as well as college graduates. In the process, participants dispelled myths about their intellectual abilities and their potential to succeed. Still, their options were limited given their lack of a social security number. This study contributed to the limited literature about opportunities and challenges Mexican undocumented college students face upon degree completion.



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