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

Laura E. Enriquez is Associate Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the educational, political, and social experiences of undocumented young adults and members of mixed-status families. She is author of the book, Of Love and Papers: How Immigration Policy Affects Romance and Family, in which she explores how immigration policies constrain the dating, marriage, and parenting experiences of undocumented young adults and limit intergenerational mobility within mixed-status families. Dr. Enriquez is Principle Investigator on the Undocumented Student Equity Project and the UC Collaborative to Promote Immigrant and Student Equity; both are collaborative research initiatives that examine how immigration policies disrupt the educational experiences and wellbeing of undocumented college students and students from mixed-status families. She is currently a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Enriquez’ research illuminates how immigration policies structure the lives of undocumented immigrants and their citizen family members. Focusing primarily on 1.5-generation young adults who came to the U.S. as children, she investigates how laws and policies make undocumented immigration status consequential in everyday life and turn these into a lasting source of inequality for the immigrant generation and beyond. She deploys an intersectional approach to examine how social locations like gender and race differentiate experiences of illegality. Her research earned her the Distinguished Early-Career Faculty Award for Research from the UC Irvine Academic Senate in 2020.

Dr. Enriquez is passionate about conducting research that can inform policies that can mitigate the negative effects of immigration laws. She frequently translates findings into policy briefs, institutional reports, and op-eds to ensure that they reach policy makers and community stakeholders.

Dr. Enriquez is committed to working with and advocating for undocumented communities. She is faculty-in-residence at the UCI Dream Center where she actively works with undocumented undergraduate and graduate students. She created the Scholar-in-Residence program to empower undocumented graduate students and enable them to share their knowledge with undocumented undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate and professional degrees. She also 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 a former Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation Fellow, and UCI Chancellor’s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research has been supported by the American Sociological Association, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, the Haynes Foundation, UC Institute for Mexico and the United States, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and the University of California Office of the President.