Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


"Legality" on Hold: An Exploratory Study on DACAmented Student’s Experiences of Uncertainty and Fear Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this study is to explore the uncertainty and fear that DACAmented college and university students experience with the potential termination of the United States Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. There is limited research on the experiences of DACAmented individuals during this time of uncertainty for their legal statuses under a changing political landscape. From September 2018 to January 2019, n=12 DACAmented college and university students in the Pacific Northwest participated in research activities, including semi-structured interviews, demographic questionnaires, and free listing exercises. Using Yosso’s Cultural Wealth model and Willen’s Phenomenology of Illegality as theoretical frameworks, analysis explored participants’ conceptualizations of their citizenship statuses, their futures, interpersonal relationships, emotional experiences, subjectivity, and agency under the threat of losing their legal status. Four major themes emerged: (1) coming of age as undocumented, (2) familial support, (3) the impacts of DACA and its potential cancellation on educational and career goals as well as mental wellbeing and, and (4) the ways in which DACAmented students are remaining resilient during this uncertain political time. The emergent themes demonstrate how DACA recipients are making sense of the potential termination of their legal statuses, and advance existing research on the lives of DACAmented individuals.
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