Apoyo Sacrificial, Sacrificing Support: Understanding Undocumented Latina/o Parents’ Engagement in Students’ Post-Secondary Planning and Success
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AbstractEducational research has highlighted the importance of parental engagement in Latina/o students’ post-secondary planning and success; when parents develop their children’s college-going identities early, students are more likely to attend a 4-year institution (Tierney & Auerbach, 2005; Zarate, Saenz, & Oseguera, 2011). Little is known, however, about how Latina/o parents’ immigration status influences their engagement. Existing scholarship has demonstrated that an undocumented status, or parents’ “illegality,” not only limits access to resources, but also adds a layer of distrust, discomfort, and fear of social institutions (De Genova, 2002; Dreby, 2015; Enriquez, 2015; Gonzales 2010, 2011; Yoshikawa, 2011).
This phenomenological qualitative study explores the engagement of 15 undocumented Latina/o parents whose children were successfully admitted and matriculated to Coast University (pseudonym), a prestigious public institution in California. Using in-depth qualitative interview data, this dissertation explores the different stages of parents’ role in their children’s’ post-secondary planning and success and the ways their “illegality” and other factors (i.e. access to resources, connections to social networks, relationships with schools) shape these.
Specifically, this study explores how undocumented Latina/o parents describe and make sense of their sacrificios (sacrifices) and apoyo (support), which I argue are essential components of their role in their children’s post-secondary planning and success. As such, this study shows how undocumented Latina/o parents’ engagement is apoyo sacrificial (sacrificing support), or an engagement that is shaped and bounded by the limitations of their “illegality.” Though bounded by the limitations of their immigration status, undocumented Latina/o parents are intentional about their parenting behaviors—they engage in parenting practices that support their children’s goals and aspirations despite the limitations they face.
This dissertation makes a unique contribution to education and family engagement literature, as it connects the important, underexplored, and under theorized experiences of Latina/o families and communities to conversations on higher education access and success. This study focuses not only on the political and educational barriers undocumented Latina/o parents face, but also examines the critical and intentional ways in which parents respond to these.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:37935837