Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Work

First Advisor

Debora M. Ortega, Ph.D.


Critical race theory, Immigrant families, Latinos, Mixed-citizenship status families, Mixed methods research


Throughout history and in contemporary U.S. society, immigration policies and practices have been laced with racist nativism, benefiting the dominant (white, male elite) society at the expense of Immigrants of Color (Chavez, 2008; Hanna & Ortega, 2016; Huag, n.d.; Ortega, Hanna, & Haffejee, 2014; Pérez-Huber, 2008). Today, Latinos are particularly vulnerable as they are the target of racist nativist immigration policy and practices and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

This dissertation examines the emotional well-being of Latino youths and young adults in mixed-citizenship status families using mixed methods research methodology. The study is informed by Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latina/o Critical Race Theory (LatCrit), which places this area of inquiry in the context of historical and contemporary immigration policies and practices, structural racism and individuals' intersecting identities. The study analyzes quantitative data from two separate samples (high school students and adults), yielding a total of 214 respondents (40% U.S. native families, 40% immigrant families (non-mixed status) and 20% mixed status families). The qualitative strand of the study utilizes a grounded theory approach to analyze the interviews of 20 participants, 19 in immigrant families, half of whom were in mixed-citizenship status families. Although no statistically significant results were found, the qualitative data suggests that Latinos in mixed-citizenship status families are uniquely impacted by current immigration policies and practices as they navigate various forms of structural oppression, including limited support structures in the education system; racial profiling and the active policing of the immigrant community; the inability of unauthorized immigrants to legally work, putting them at risk for exploitation or unfair working environments; and barriers for unauthorized immigrants to travel both domestically and internationally. These unique experiences take an emotional toll on all members of mixed-citizenship status families, including authorized immigrant and U.S. citizen family members. Merged quantitative and qualitative data displays the impact of perceived discrimination and structural oppression on the emotional well-being of Latinos. This dissertation concludes with a discussion of implications for social work practice, policy and research.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Ashley-Marie Vollmer Hanna

File size

392 p.

File format





Social Work

Included in

Social Work Commons