Somos Iguales...Pero No Tanto: Examining the Experience of Belonging among Undocumented Immigrant Latina/o Students

  • Jesús Rodríguez
Keywords: undocumented, immigrant, post secondary


Using data collected from a larger ethnographic study that explored the educational experiences of three generational cohorts of undocumented immigrant Latino students in a public secondary school setting, this study provides undocumented students’ perspective on barriers (perceived or real) to feeling or not feeling like a member of the school community. Qualitative interviews with twelve undocumented immigrant Latina/o students identified discriminatory factors that contributed to students’ beliefs about their undocumented status among documented Latina/o peers. Findings indicate that feelings of belonging within-group variation (1.25, 1.5. and 1.75) of undocumented Latina/o students were challenged when issues of language, age of migration and the dominant American narrative projected by their Latina/o documented peers placed undocumented students’ outside of the shared cultural group and society.