We asked for workers and they sent us people: a critical race theory and Latino critical theory ethnography exploring college-ready undocumented high school immigrants in North Carolina Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • López, Janet Kier
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This study presents data from an ethnography focused on college-ready, Mexican-origin undocumented high school students and the teacher allies in the public school system that assisted in these students' attempts to access higher education. Through a Critical Race Theory and Latino Critical Theory framework, this research examined the structural limitations of continuing on to higher education created by the policies that currently exist in North Carolina, findings that policies in North Carolina make it difficult, if not financially impossible, for nearly every undocumented student in this study to access college. The data demonstrate that, despite the resiliency and academic achievements of the undocumented students in the K-12 system, legal constraints prohibited undocumented students from pursuing any realistic post-secondary options. The state is losing out on an opportunity to capitalize on the transnational capital undocumented students possess from their experiences in two cultures. Particular attention in the study was paid to how these undocumented college-ready students positioned themselves at school, and how the public discourse attempted to position them with labels such as "illegal" and "problem". The students' lives provide powerful counternarratives to challenge the deficit perspectives about the contribution undocumented students make to the state of North Carolina.
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  • In Copyright
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Open access

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