Laura E. Enriquez
Assistant Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies

Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

undocumented 1.5 generation young adults, immigration, Latino families, education

SST 387 | (949) 824-6190

Dr. Laura E. Enriquez holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology and History from Pomona College. During her time there she began working closely with undocumented immigrant students. Building on this work, she has researched, presented, and published on a range of issues related to the educational, economic, political, and social experiences of undocumented young adults who immigrated to the United States as children.

She has published multiple articles on the complex role that immigration status plays in the everyday lives of undocumented young adults.  Currently she is working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, Of Love and Papers: Forming Families in the Shadows of Immigration Policy. Drawing on qualitative interviews with undocumented young adults and their romantic partners, the book explores how immigration-related laws impact the family formation experiences of undocumented immigrant young adults, their romantic partners, and their citizen children. She examines how all family members, regardless of their immigration status, are impacted by various immigration-related laws and policies that sanction undocumented immigrants by imposing deportation threats, an inability to legally obtain employment, an inability to obtain a state-issued driver’s license or identification card, and limited pathways to legalization. Further, conducting interviews both before and after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows her to isolate the impact of these particular aspects of illegality as all of these limitations were eliminated or transformed by the DACA program. Using a sociological lens, she address how these structural limitations shape the creation of mixed-status families as well as individuals’ agency as these families navigate the law.

Her second project, the Undocumented Student Equity Project, is a collaboration with undocumented and allied undergraduate and graduate students to promote the educational equity of undocumented students. Dedicated to developing policy-relvent data, the project consists of quantitative surveys and qualitative focus groups with current undocumented students and alumni from across the University of California system. These data will be used to assess the resources provided to undocumented UC students, identify best practices, and explore the post-graduate trajectories of alumni. More can be found out about the ongoing project here.

Putting her research into practice, she works directly with colleges and community organizations to help them better serve undocumented immigrants. She is faculty chair of UCI’s Committee for Equity and Inclusion of Undocumented Students and currently serves as the faculty advisor for UCI’s Marco A. Firebaugh House, an on-campus housing community for undocumented students and allies.

Dr. Enriquez is former Ford Foundation Predoctoral (2008) and Dissertation (2013) Fellow, and UCI Chancellor’s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellow (2014). Her research and work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, American Sociological Association, the Haynes Foundation, UC Institute for Mexico and the United States, the UC Consortium on Social Science and Law, UCI ADVANCE Program, UCI School of Social Sciences, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and the UCLA Institute for American Cultures.