Laura E. Enriquez
Associate Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies

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

undocumented 1.5 generation young adults, immigration, 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.

Her book, Of Love and Papers: How Immigration Policy Affects Romance and Family, explores how immigration policy is fundamentally reshaping Latino families. Drawing on two waves of interviews with undocumented young adults, she establishes how immigration status creeps into the most personal aspects of everyday life, intersecting with gender to constrain family formation. The imprint of illegality remains, even upon obtaining DACA or permanent residency. Interweaving the perspectives of U.S. citizen romantic partners and children, she illustrates the multigenerational punishment that limits the upward mobility of Latino families. The book is available in paperback and as a free e-book.

Her current research focuses on how immigration policy and institutional resources impact the educational and wellbeing outcomes of undocumented college students. She leads the Undocumented Student Equity Project (USEP), a collaboration with undocumented and allied undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. This project aims to generate empirical data that can inform the development of best practices to advance the educational equity of undocumented students. She is also principle investigator of the UC Collaborative to Promote Immigrant and Student Equity (UC PromISE). In addition to developing a cohort of scholars conducting policy-relevant research in this field, the collaborative is conducting a survey of UC undocumented students, UC citizen students with undocumented parents, and UC citizen students with legal immigrant parents. It aims to assess the extent to which illegality impacts the educational outcomes and well-being of citizen students with undocumented parents and evaluate what types of institutional programming can reduce inequalities.

Putting her research into practice, she works directly with colleges and community organizations to help them better serve undocumented immigrants. She is faculty-in-residence at the UCI Dream Center, faculty chair of UCI’s Committee for Equity and Inclusion of Undocumented Students and 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 has been supported by multiple funders, including the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, American Sociological Association, the Haynes Foundation, UC Institute for Mexico and the United States, the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and the University of California Office of the President.