Review of ‘Americans by Heart: Undocumented Latino students and the promise of higher education.’

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Laura McLaughlin Gonzalez, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In August 2012, undocumented youth who were brought to the United States prior to their 16th birthday became eligible to apply for deferred action relative to deportation, per an administrative order by President Barack Obama. Although this action did not accomplish the same goals hoped for by Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act supporters, it did allow a portion of the unauthorized immigrant youth in this country a chance to apply for a temporary work permit and to come out from the shadows. At the start of his second term in January 2013, President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators went to work drafting legislation for more comprehensive immigration reform. This historical moment makes William Pérez's book Americans by Heart all the more salient. The book is a product of his 2-year qualitative and quantitative study of undocumented Latino high school students (18% of the sample) and college students (34% attending community college, 48% at a 4-year college), mostly in California and Texas. The book illustrates what he learned about their social resources and constraints (Chapter 2), their academic and civic engagement (Chapters 3 and 4), their pathways into higher education (Chapter 5), and their status upon graduation (Chapter 6). Most important, the voices of the participants bring the reasons for deferred action and the DREAM Act vividly to life. In one participant's words, “I was really depressed because I was outstanding in school, and I was like, OK, I can't go to college” (p. 24). The determination and motivation of the participants is shown as well, as they continued to strive and often to excel against long odds.

Additional Information

Journal of Latinos and Education
Language: English
Date: 2013
Book review

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