Roberto G. Gonzales, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Education
Due to the political gridlock in the U.S. Congress, the fate of more than 2 million young immigrants remains uncertain. With legalization efforts stalled, on June 15, 2012, President Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a change in his administration’s enforcement policy that would temporarily defer deportations from the United States for undocumented youth and young adults, in addition to providing temporary Social Security numbers and two-year work permits. At the six-year mark, more than 814,000 young people have benefited from the program and, as a result, had taken giant steps towards the American mainstream. Things changed under the Trump administration, on Sept. 5, 2017, when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an end to what had become a very successful policy. What does this termination mean for these young people and their families? Based on a multi-year study, Professor Gonzales provides some interesting answers to these vexing questions.
Roberto G. Gonzales is professor of education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America, is based on an in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for 12 years. To date, Lives in Limbo has won seven major book awards, including the Society for the Study of Social Problems C. Wright Mills Award, the American Education Research Association Outstanding Book Award, and the Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Award. It has also been adopted by several universities as a common read and is being used by K-12 schools across the country in teacher and staff training. In addition, Professor Gonzales’ National UnDACAmented Research Project has surveyed nearly 2,700 undocumented young adults and has carried out 500 in-depth interviews on their experiences following President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.