Beyond Liminal Legality

Espinoza-Herold, M. (2007). Beyond the sí se puede: Dichos as a cultural resource in mother-daughter interaction in a Latino family. Anthropology & Education, 38(3), 260-277 doi.org/10.1525/aeq.2007.38.3.260. The first part deals with the taxonomic characteristics of liminal legality identified in studies that focus on the life experiences of marginalized non-citizens. These characteristics include uncertainty about the extent of the pardon of the ban, the use of administrative pardon to achieve no ban, the commitment to pay to prevent that ban, experiences of increased surveillance by state actors, and the vulnerability associated with control, exclusion and abuse by private actors. One of the main demands of the refugee movement was full refugee status for all those who were forced to flee Central America. The German government finally responded in 1990 by creating a Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Far from refugee status, the TPS mainly granted Salvadorans the right to work and reside in the country – but not the right to access state-funded social services – for eighteen months at a time. Cecilia Menjívar describes this state of “border legality” as one marked by “enormous fear”, with “each deadline highlighting the precarious situation of these immigrants” and many falling into status over time. The Deferred Action Program for Child Arrivals (DACA), implemented by Order in Council in 2012, granted a subset of the temporary undocumented exemption from deportation, work permit and other benefits. While immigrant integration theories predict that legalization will allow for the socio-economic mobility of immigrants, previous research on the impact of DACA on education and employment has come to mixed conclusions that may reflect the limitations of different methodological approaches to this issue. Using multiple data sources and mixed methods, we analyzed whether and how DACA affected education and employment among undocumented immigrants in California.

Our difference in wave difference analysis from the 2007-2017 California Health Interview Study uses a more precise definition of the DACA-compliant population than previous studies, but we also find mixed effects. Our analysis of surveys and in-depth interviews collected with DACA recipients in California provides context for this finding. DACA made college possible for some, but discouraged it for others. DACA recipients have experienced considerable occupational mobility, but for many this has not been reflected in the offshoring of the secondary labour market. Our results suggest that WITHOUT access to permanent legal status, DACA recipients will experience limited legality with limited and conditional impact on socio-economic integration. Since this is a legal condition that is fully sanctioned and regulated by the state, TPS grants capital even stricter control over immigrant labor than “illegality” over undocumented workers. It also allows the state to evade any responsibility for the social welfare of immigrant workers by placing responsibility on immigrants themselves (and often, because of the historically gendered dimensions of the division of labor, forcing women to close the gap). Whether and to what extent DACA has long-term effects on socio-economic mobility depends primarily on the termination, maintenance or replacement of DACA, despite government differences in the DACA experience. The respondent, whose quote introduced this article, explained the problem of border law well: “In very few ways [life after DACA] has changed. But at the same time, these little things are big things, because before we had nothing.

And just something, it`s a lot. But at the same time, this something is very little. Why not [comprehensive] immigration reform, right? Replacing DACA with an ongoing program that includes a path to citizenship is the “big thing” DACA recipients need to invest in and realize their potential. Menjívar, C. (2006). Liminal Legality: The Lives of Salvadoran and Guatemalan Immigrants in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 111(4), 999-1037. doi.org/10.1086/499509. Cebulko, K. (2014). Documented, undocumented and borderline law: Legal status during the transition to adulthood for Brazilian immigrants of the generation 1,5.

The Sociological Quarterly, 55 (1), 143-167 doi.org/10.1111/tsq.12045. Families affected by liminal legality often face unique stressors that lead to increased mental health risks. Therefore, it is imperative that clinicians working with mixed-status Latinx families have an understanding of the types of border legality and how different types of family members may affect differently. While this is not an exhaustive list, we highlight and describe three types of borderline status that often affect the families we see in our practice as couple and family therapists. Deferred measures for early arrivals (DACA), temporary protected status (TPS) and lawful permanent residents (RPLs). We offer six considerations to help therapists increase efficiency and mitigate stressors when working with mixed-status Latinx families. In this article, we examine whether and how DACA has changed employment and education outcomes for immigrants participating in the program. Immigrant integration theories hold that legal status is a key determinant of immigrant integration and therefore predict that legalization will enable economic integration (Bean, Brown, & Bachmeier, 2015; Portes and Zhou, 1993). However, it is unclear whether and to what extent DACA, as a temporary legal status for young immigrants of the 1.5 generation, will affect economic mobility. DACA can best be described as borderline legality, a status “in between”, documented and undocumented, with uncertain and conditional effects on economic integration (Cebulko 2014; Menjivar, 2006; Roth, 2018).

This apparent about-face makes more sense when one considers the advantages that “border legality” offers to capital and the state. Chacón`s next conceptual step is to expand the class of those who live in border legality beyond the group on the brink of exile. It reveals as limited groups of non-citizens who appear to have more stable legal privileges, such as legal permanent residents “who live in closely monitored and restrictive jurisdictions and who have old criminal convictions that they may appear deported” and who “may experience a greater limit and likelihood of banishment than an unauthorized non-citizen who has a low priority for deportation, and lives in a more immigrant-friendly jurisdiction.” (p. 732.) Liminality therefore depends less on formal categories of immigration status than on the functional elements of time, place and social context. Our second contribution is to clarify the mechanisms by which DACA affects employment and education outcomes by analyzing the original survey and incoming interview data collected from DACA recipients in California in the DACA study. The DACA study includes in-depth surveys and interviews with DACA recipients and similar non-recipients (i.e., those who remained undocumented) in California. The main benefits of our primary data collection are that DACA eligibility and receipt are directly monitored (requested by respondents). We recruited from DACA information sessions that took place shortly after the program was announced, and the DACA study provides a more diverse sample of DACA recipients than previous primary data collection efforts. We use this data to determine why and for whom DACA enables or discourages post-secondary education, and to understand occupational mobility in the context of DACA. Our combined analysis of the CHIS and DACA studies provides strong support to DACA`s liminal legality perspective: the impact of the program is highly conditional due to the ephemeral and uncertain nature of the program.