Experiences of Exploitation, Poverty, and Marginality among Unaccompanied Migrant Youth

I am approaching my two year anniversary of beginning my research with Central American youth and young-adults who arrived as unaccompanied minors. Each day they thank me for my time and attention and have given me nicknames like “teacher”, “hermana”, and “Chep” (Maya K’iche for Stephanie). They smile shyly when I tell them that they are my teachers and I would not have made it this far in grad school if it were not for them. Not only because, well… they are my research participants, but because they teach me about perseverance, hope, dreaming big dreams, and finding happiness in moments of sinceridad (sincerity).

Below is the product of my time as a UC Davis Center for Poverty Research visiting scholar. A small glimpse into the lives of those unaccompanied minors who make it beyond the border and begin living and working in Los Angeles. Please share this and join me in making this experience known.


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