fbpx Race, Legal Status & Social Mobility - Mary Waters | Harvard Kennedy School

Additional Authors:

  • Mary Waters

Excerpt

Paper, "In this essay, we review what is known about the role of race and legal status in the incorporation of immigrants in twenty-first-century America. While race and ethnicity matter in the social mobility of immigrants, racialization is not the impassable stumbling block critical race theory predicts. The research paints a remarkably consistent picture of intergenerational socioeconomic progress, one that is very similar to what happened with immigrants from Europe a century ago. This mobility is accelerated for Asians and Blacks, but slower among Latinxs. Legal status is increasingly a block to integration and affects both undocumented immigrants and their citizen children. While race and legal status intersect, we conclude that legal status is now playing a relatively autonomous role in limiting the life chances of many immigrants. We raise the alarm about not only the direct effects of legal status, but its increasing role in racializing and excluding Latinx Americans."

Non-HKS Author Website - Mary Waters