Criminal Justice Faculty Publications and Presentations


Undocumented Latino Youth: Migration Experiences and the Challenges of Integrating into American Society

Document Type


Publication Date



This descriptive qualitative study explored the challenges that undocumented and unaccompanied Latino youth face in their migration and their attempt to integrate into American society after crossing the US–Mexican border. In-depth interviews were conducted with undocumented and unaccompanied Latino youth in Texas. Data were analyzed for patterns and themes. The findings indicate that youth are more prone to personal failures across several domains, which can lead to a life of crime. The descriptions are categorized under themes that correlate to familial makeup, migration and border crossing experiences, and experiences as unaccompanied and undocumented youth living on the US–Mexican border. These results help to contextualize the immigration debate as related to undocumented Latino youth and crime. They indicate that most of the undocumented Latino youth were victims of crimes more so than perpetrators of crime. Their victimizations included exposure to pervasive violence and other challenges that made realizing their full potential difficult.


Copyright © 2016, Springer Science Business Media Dordrecht

Publication Title

Int. Migration & Integration