I investigated the relationship between state laws affecting university tuition for undocumented youths and new paths of incorporation for immigrants. The project’s goal was to assess whether state laws that open or restrict eligibility for in-state tuition for undocumented youths were associated with different levels of political engagement and belonging. It relied on theories predicting that increased interaction between majority and minority groups as well as equal opportunities both promote immigrant assimilation. It also built on a resource mobilization model which establishes that political mobilization will occur when increased social resources are made available to a marginalized group.
The project used a broad concept of the subjective sense of belonging, which included measures of civic and political engagement as well as assimilation (like education or work). For this project I collected two data sets. The first was based on a survey of Latino immigrant youths living in New York and New Jersey, and the second included 60 in-depths interviews conducted with undocumented youths who have grown up in the metropolitan area.