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“Sigo en lo Mismo”: the impact of papeles on the education of undocumented Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers

Lorena Gutiérrez (School of Education, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California, USA)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 20 July 2023

Issue publication date: 31 July 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of documentation on the educational experiences, college readiness and aspirations of undocumented Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Design/methodology/approach

This ethnographic study was conducted in a High School Equivalency Program at a large university in the Midwest. Data was collected during two semesters across a three-year span. Participants included six Mexican migrant and seasonal farmworkers who were preparing to earn their General Educational Development (GED) diploma. Using the grounded theory, data was collected and analyzed simultaneously where initial and focused coding took place, followed by cross-case analysis.

Findings

Analysis of student interviews, participant observations and in-depth fieldnotes that include the K-12 educational experiences, experiences during and after the High School Equivalency Program reveal that undocumented Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers aspire to earn a GED diploma to access a better future inclusive of college. However, the legal liminality, the uncertainty and ambiguity of being undocumented, impacts their educational journey prior to, during and beyond the High School Equivalency Program. Furthermore, undocumented Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers are unable to change their material conditions with a GED because of their documentation status.

Originality/value

Although researchers have studied the education experiences of Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers, analysis and consideration of documentation status is missing. This study contributes much needed findings about the impact of documentation status on the educational experiences, college readiness, and aspirations of Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Keywords

Citation

Gutiérrez, L. (2023), "“Sigo en lo Mismo”: the impact of papeles on the education of undocumented Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 327-348. https://doi.org/10.1108/ETPC-02-2023-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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