On the margins: Undocumented students' narrated experiences of (il)legality

Kendall A King, Gemma Punti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Undocumented migration is a major demographic trend, yet both under researched and under-theorized. This is particularly the case for undocumented students in the U.S., as most studies that target this population have spotlighted extraordinary adolescents (e.g., . Gonzales, 2008). Much less is known about the everyday unextraordinary experiences of undocumented youth in navigating the U.S. legal and social terrain. To address this gap, this study interviewed and observed undocumented Latino youth in the U.S. over 18 months, and examined what we term, the 'narrative accounts of legality' produced by 15 youths. Analysis of these 20 narrative accounts reveals that immigration status is experienced and understood largely in racial terms. Findings provide insight into how these experiences are linked to youths' sense of self and self-development and the ways in which these high school students and young adults discursively make sense of the myriad contradictions surrounding them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalLinguistics and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Adolescent
  • Citizenship
  • Latino
  • Legal status
  • Narrative
  • Race

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