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How Community Cultural Wealth Contributes to Resiliency among "DACA-mented" Students

Fri, March 22, 7:45 to 9:15am, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 1, Exhibit Hall B

Integrative Statement

Literature Review
The United States is home to approximately 11.4 million undocumented immigrants, half of whom are of Latinx origin (Batalova, Hooker, Capps, & Beachmeier, 2014). When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program was launched in 2012, it was anticipated that approximately 1.2 million undocumented immigrant youth were eligible for the program (Batalova et al., 2014). While preliminary findings of the DACA Program have found that recipients benefited from a greater sense of societal integration and improved access to health resources (Gonzales, Terriquez, & Ruszczyk, 2014), the end of the program presents new challenges necessitating further exploration on how DACA recipients are coping with new, yet familiar terrains as they may once again return to being undocumented.
Given that DACA students have already been identified as resilient, this study is guided by resiliency theory, which refers to patterns of positive adaptation over time in the context of significant risk or adversity (Masten & Powell, 2003). However, in order to further guide this study, we also utilize the Community Cultural Wealth Theory (CCW; Yosso, 2005), which has identified key sources of resilience within Latino populations that are driven by community and cultural sources of social capital. The following study will explore the ways in which DACA-mented students exhibit resiliency and capital.

Human subject’s approval was received and semi-structured qualitative interview (N=20) were conducted using snowball sampling. The selection criteria consisted of adult recipients of the program (18 years of age or older) who continue to fall under DACA status or whose status had expired at the time of the interview. Interviews were conducted by one bilingual bicultural interviewer and were transcribed verbatim, including code-switching between English and Spanish, using NVivo Qualitative Software. Multiple bilingual coders analyzed the data using the key sources of resilience identified in the CCW theory.

Three central themes emerged: navigational capital suggest skills, networks, and resources that help students advance educationally in the face of DACA’s rescission. Another theme which emerged across all interviews was resistant capital and the ways the participants identified inequality and prejudice in their schooling experience and aimed to change these condition. Aspirational capital also emerged in the ways participants maintain hopes and dreams for the future (Yosso, 2005), even in the face of unstable futures in the U.S. and their hopes motivated the participants to help their siblings maneuver through DACA applications, higher education, assisting family members with voting on early ballots, and engaging in local activist movements.

The findings of this study suggest ways in which DACA-mented students establish resiliency and find ways to remain resilient through learning how to navigate the governmental processes, working to address issues of social injustice, and maintaining their hopes and dreams for the future through helping their family and friends to remain civically engaged through voting, activism, and navigating DACA applications. This study will advance our understanding of resiliency of young people through immigration and immigration policy changes.


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