Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Illegal aliens, Hispanic American college students, Hispanic Americans-Ethnic identity, Narrative therapy, Immigration, Undocumented, Youth, Critical race theory, Empowerment, Soladarity, Storytelling, Narrative sharing, Counternarrative, Latino


This qualitative study was undertaken to explore the ways in which undocumented Latino students navigate and shift personal identity, notions of group solidarity and political consciousness upon "coming out" as undocumented and participating in narrative-sharing spaces that specifically ask them to reflect on their citizenship status in the company of other undocumented young people. The study aims to help guide the social work community in developing further support for undocumented youth. The study sample comprises nine undocumented Latino students from the San Francisco Bay Area, ages 20 – 24. Data was collected through in-depth, in-person interviews that focused on participants' experiences of coming out as undocumented and sharing stories with undocumented peers. The major findings of the research included the fact that the processes of coming out as undocumented and continuing to share stories with peers have supported the following: positive emotional development; identity expansion and integration; increased sense of personal voice and purpose; and growth in interpersonal and community supports. The findings encourage the social work community to create narrative-sharing spaces for and with undocumented youth, using this study's participants' voices to imagine best practices.




iii, 59 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 49-53)