02/05/2013 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: Michigan Union Ballroom
Speaker: Robert G. Gonzalez, assistant professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
Immigration, undocumented immigrants, and attempts to reform immigration have been an area of intense and often rancorous discourse and action. A segment of this highly complex and volatile policy area has been the status of potentially millions of young people who came or were brought to the U.S. by parents or other family members as young children. They have grown up as Americans, attending our schools and working in our labor markets, but their undocumented status affects their ability to pursue higher education, career choices, and a stable life in America. While the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was first introduced in 2001, Congressional approval has been elusive. The re-election of Barack Obama and a seemingly more amenable climate for immigration reform have pushed the DREAM Act back on the policy table. This program develops a real-time portrayal of living in the U.S. as a “DREAM Act youth” and their connection to the goals and underlying principles associated with immigration reform initiatives. Realizing the American Dream for “DREAM Act youth” has a clear connection to Martin Luther King’s dream for America.
Roberto G. Gonzales is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Irvine. Professor Gonzales’ research focuses on the ways in which legal and educational institutions shape the everyday experiences of poor, minority, and immigrant youth along the life course and the important ways in which they respond. He is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on undocumented immigrant youth and young adults. Over the last decade he has been engaged in critical inquiry regarding what happens to undocumented immigrant children as they make transitions to adolescence and young adulthood. His work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Current Anthropology, International Migration, and the Peabody Journal of Education among other journals and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, TIME Magazine, Chicago Tribune, CNN and NPR . He is currently working on a book manuscript based on a study of undocumented young adults in Los Angeles.