English Proficiency and Trust Networks among Undocumented Mexican Migrants

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This study explores whether being a member of a migration-trust network (social structures that immigrants create to manage the challenges of undocumented status) affects the acquisition of English language proficiency among undocumented heads of household who migrate to the United States from Mexico. The analysis shows that human capital accumulation and interactions with non-Hispanic white Americans are important to learning English in this migrant population. But it also suggests that membership in a migration-trust network can inhibit the acquisition of English language proficiency. I use these data and other accumulated research to argue that being undocumented and participating in migration-trust networks can deter migrants from assimilating into American mainstream society: a lack legal status among many first-generation Mexican immigrants pushes them toward survival strategies that rely on migration-trust networks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
StatePublished - Jul 8 2019


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