Article Review Sample: Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America

Published: 2022-07-27
Article Review Sample: Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Immigration
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 937 words
8 min read

Why does Gonzales define being undocumented as a master status for 1.5 generation of young Mexicans?

By definition, a master status is a form of social status with which people categorize others in the community. While some people have enviable master statuses like prestige or honor, there are others who receive a negative perception in the society. There is some form of exclusion and stigma attached to a negative master status. Gonzales states that there are about 2.1 million undocumented immigrants whose master status in their communities of residence remains just that, undocumented. This demography ropes in a generation of young Latinos born in Mexico but grown and spent the better of their adult lives in the United States, thus their reference as the 1.5 generation. They find it hard to secure economic opportunities dues ti their master status of being undocumented. It is a perplexing situation considering that they can secure a social security number that entitles them to social benefits, yet they cannot be granted full citizenship that entitles them to better opportunities. Contemporary globalization calls for a review in policy to integrate the undocumented young adults into the American society.

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Why does the author point out that being undocumented if a form of legal liminality?

According to the author, being undocumented is a form of legal liminality in that the immigration legal framework is vague as far as the case of the the undocumented young Latino adults is concerned. The vagueness stems from the fact that these undocumented immigrants are now entitled to social security numbers where they can find jobs. However, their rights are only limited to the social security benefits as they are not extended to the status of their citizenship because they do not qualify for any. In other words, they can find jobs that are limited to laborers but they cannot attain jobs that are meant for graduate citizens. This pushes them into doing menial jobs and yet, it is coming at a later stage because these cluster of immigrants is starting its early thirties. Their age means they are a bit late in catching up with developing their careers or being eligible for entry level jobs with their academic qualifications.

How does local context shape the reaction and resistance to anti-immigration campaigns?

The local context plays its role in shaping the resistance and reaction to the anti-immigration campaigns where the Latino community thrives together in various areas within the United States. The local context comprises of the surrounding communities and individuals who are non-Hispanics and have a first-hand experience of the troubles that this set of people go through. Getting a first-hand experience of their lifestyle will form a strong personal opinion on whether to resist or react otherwise to anti-immigration campaigns. People who have in close contact with the 1.5 generation of undocumented adults and the tribulations that they face in the social, economic, cultural, and political sectors of their communities. The mistreatment, discrimination, and open bias in places of work and learning institutions are enough to convince a neutral that these people deserve better. Thus, effective immigration policies ought to be formulated to address the plight of the undocumented immigrants. At the local context, the empathy lessens the resistance towards anti-immigration campaigns.

How does national context shape the reaction and resistance to any anti-immigration campaigns?

There is also the national context that equally plays its role in shaping the resistance and reaction to anti-immigration campaigns. On a national scale, the United States citizens have little empathy on the plight of undocumented young immigrants because they view them on a collective perspective as they have not have a first-hand experience with their situation. The citizens generalize the undocumented immigrants as being part of the larger immigration problem without a care of separating their situation to fully comprehend their ordeal as the 1.5 generation that was born in Mexico and raised in the United States where they have lived for the better part of their adult lives. On a national perspective, citizens support the anti-immigration campaigns on a large scale yet they do not have a clue of the challenges that the undocumented immigrants face on a daily basis in their stay within the American borders. This gradually increases the momentum towards supporting the anti-immigration campaigns.

How do anti-immigration policy campaigns feed into the production of spaces and places?

The growing rhetoric on anti-immigration policies gradually spills over into the production of spaces and places within the United States. This means that the undocumented immigrants from the Mexican community living in the United States is affected when it comes to the securing of productive opportunities with their lives. Despite being learned with some of them being graduates, this category of 1.5 generation finds it hard to secure employment opportunities that match their academic credentials simply because they are undocumented, thus do not count as actual citizens of the United States. They are pushed to the periphery of oblivion by being forced to work in menial jobs that do not require their academic qualifications to execute. The same effect is felt whenever these undocumented immigrants try to mingle with other people in the society. They face social exclusion due to their citizenship status yet they reside in the same communities with the people who do not acknowledge them. Anti-immigration employers and neighbors perceive them as outsiders who are not worthy of working in America like other people with full citizenship status.


Gonzales, R. G. (2015). Lives in limbo: Undocumented and coming of age in America. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Jones, H. (2017). Go home?: The politics of immigration controversies. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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