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Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America

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Author: Gonzales, Roberto G.

Brand: University of California Press

Edition: First


  • University of California Press

Binding: Paperback

Number Of Pages: 320

Release Date: 08-12-2015

Details: Product Description “My world seems upside down. I have grown up but I feel like I’m moving backward. And I can’t do anything about it.” –Esperanza Over two million of the nation’s eleven million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since childhood. Due to a broken immigration system, they grow up to uncertain futures. In Lives in Limbo, Roberto G. Gonzales introduces us to two groups: the college-goers, like Ricardo, who had good grades and a strong network of community support that propelled him to college and DREAM Act organizing but still landed in a factory job a few short years after graduation, and the early-exiters, like Gabriel, who failed to make meaningful connections in high school and started navigating dead-end jobs, immigration checkpoints, and a world narrowly circumscribed by legal limitations. This vivid ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, despite the fact that higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America. Mining the results of an extraordinary twelve-year study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles, Lives in Limbo exposes the failures of a system that integrates children into K-12 schools but ultimately denies them the rewards of their labor.   Review "Based on an impressive ethnographic study carried out over twelve years, the book brings to light the rich and detailed voices and experiences of the 1.5 generation." , NACLA: Report on the Americas "A must-read... This book is a critical addition to blossoming research on the undocumented 1.5-generation." , City & Society "This book expertly sheds light on the US governments’ failure to devise effective and ethical immigration policies. . . . Through the narratives of young, undocumented adults, Gonzales addresses the burden of their illegality and aims to affirm not only the need to consider their status but also the need for the government to implement legislation that will allow them to participate in society." , Journal of Youth and Adolescence From the Inside Flap "Superb. . . . An important examination of the devastating consequences of 'illegality' on our young people."--Junot Díaz, author of  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and  This is How You Lose Her   " Lives in Limbo is a book of tragic beauty. It recounts with moral clarity, conceptual precision, and empirical rigor what Hannah Arendt, writing in another terrible time, called 'the calamity of the right-less.' It is about what happens in a society, our society, when children and youth who are de facto but not de jure members of the family of the nation lose the right to have rights. It fearlessly narrates the quotidian empire of suffering and shattered dreams our barbaric immigration system has begotten. Reading it will bring tears and joy. It will make you mad and it will make you sad. It will stand as the definitive study of the undocumented coming of age in our midst. It is a book every teacher, every policymaker, indeed every concerned citizen should read and ponder."--Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, coeditor of  Latinos: Remaking America   "Roberto G. Gonzales offers a masterful portrait of the 2.1 million undocumented migrants who arrived as children and grew up in the United States.  Lives in Limbo chronicles the heartbreak and anguish they experience as they slowly come to realize there is no secure place for them in the only country they know. The compassionate telling of their stories represents qualitative social science at its finest and underscores the urgency of finding a humane solution to their plight."--Douglas S. Massey, coauthor of  Brokered Boundaries: Creating Immigrant Identity in Anti-Immigrant Times "Lives in Limbo is one of the most important books in immigration studies of the past decade. The moving and heartbreaking narratives of struggle, support, and heroism in this book shoul

Package Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches

Languages: English