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Book Chapter

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Fordham University Press


This chapter presents the experiences of undergraduate students at Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States based on interviews with twenty-five enrolled students at six of the twenty-eight private, nonprofit Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. who were undocumented at the time of the interview. The six schools include two in the western region of the U.S., two in the Midwest, and two in the East. Together, the six institutions represent the breadth and diversity of Jesuit institutions, from a research university with undergraduate and graduate programs, a law school, and a medical school, to an undergraduate focused college with a large number of commuter and part-time students.

Research on the transition to adulthood for this population of immigrants, often referred to as the 1.5 generation because they were brought to the U.S. as children, is limited. A key issue that has been identified for this group is the change in legal status that occurs when students go from being legally enrolled in high school (because of protections provided in Plyler v. Doe) with access to the same rights and privileges of other students at the school, to having no protections once they graduate and turn 18 and their legal status becomes their own issue.1 As Rumbaut and Komaie state, "Immigration to the U.S. is quintessentially the province of the young. Six out of seven immigrants arrive in early adulthood or as children" (p. 62). 2 To further complicate the issue of legality, many of the students we interviewed lived in mixed-status families, · having younger siblings who were born in the U.S. and are thus citizens. As a result, the fear of deportation of one or both parents, and themselves, loomed over them not only as a personal fear, but also about what would happen to their younger citizen siblings if any of them were deported. 3

Chapter of

Undocumented and In College


Terry-Ann Jones
Laura Nichols


Copyright © 2017 Fordham University Press. Reprinted with permission.



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