Faculty Publication: Professor Els de Graauw

April 24, 2020

Professor Els de Graauw's article, "Metropolitan Context and Immigrant Rights Experiences: DACA Awareness and Support in Houston" (co-authored with Professor Shannon Gleeson at Cornell University), was published in Urban Geography.

Professor Els de Graauw's article (co-authored with Professor Shannon Gleeson at Cornell University) was published in Urban Geography.

Metropolitan Context and Immigrant Rights Experiences: DACA Awareness and Support in Houston
Abstract: This paper examines how metropolitan contexts of reception shaped immigrants’ experiences of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Drawing on interviews with 32 DACA applicants in metro Houston, we analyze how respondents thought about DACA in relation to their safety and sense of belonging, as well as their educational pathways and professional aspirations. We also examine how they interacted with different local actors and institutions – schools, consulates, civic organizations, and private attorneys and notarios – as they sought help in applying for DACA. We find that undocumented youth in the progressive and more welcoming urban core of metro Houston articulated motivations for applying for DACA that were similar to their counterparts residing in the less diverse and much more heavily policed anti-immigrant suburbs and rural areas ringing the city. Yet DACA applicants in outlying areas, where there were fewer civic organizations and more transportation challenges, found it especially challenging to get DACA application assistance. As a result, they more often turned to expensive attorneys and notarios for help. These findings underscore the need to think of urban, suburban, and rural contexts of reception in relation, and not in isolation, of each other when considering immigrants’ experiences of federal immigration policies.

A limited number of free online copies are available via this link.

Professor de Graauw is ​Associate Professor at Baruch College, CUNY.