Luis Tenorio

Making the Transition: Formerly Undocumented, Now Legal Permanent Resident Latinos in the United States

Research on the effects of legal status has outlined detrimental economic and social impacts that come with being undocumented. This suggests that attaining legal status—when formerly undocumented—would have significant transformative effects. Yet, scholars have offered competing theories of the effects of legalization ranging from modest benefits to accumulated disadvantaged. My project explores what transformative effects, if any, transitioning from undocumented to a legal permanent resident have for Latinos in the United States. Through in-depth interviews with formerly undocumented Latinos in three U.S. metro areas (Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago), I assess how time, place, and racial stratification appreciate or depreciate the benefits of legalization. With respect to economic impacts, I examine shifts in employment, compensation, social support usage, and homeownership. With respect to social impacts, I examine how attaining legal status changes the relationships people develop and the organizations/institutions they interact with.