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Linda Sanchez

Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, UC Irvine

Residency: September 2021 – May 2022

Research Project: Living in the Shadow of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Research Interests: U.S.-Mexico migration, unaccompanied minors, the undocumented 1.5 generation, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and individuals who were excluded from DACA


Linda E. Sanchez received her B.A. and M.A. from San Diego State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), with a graduate emphasis in Chicano Studies. Her dissertation study focuses on undocumented Mexican individuals who grew up in the U.S. (1.5 generation), but were not able to receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It compares them to a group who did receive DACA. Her research investigates why people who qualified for DACA did not apply, barriers to applying/renewing and how members of the 1.5 generation were excluded through restrictions such as “date of arrival” requirements. It examines the ways that DACA and non-DACA individuals understand their social positions, and how their “(il)legal” position influences how they experience their world and informs their decisions concerning family, work, education, and future goals and plans.

Sanchez works with various ethnographic methodologies including one-on-one interviews, focus groups, participant observation, autoethnography and activist approaches. She carried out 19 months of ethnographic research in Southern California. Her specific focus was in San Diego and Orange counties: two regions with some of the largest numbers of DACA-eligible people in both the state and country. Her research aims to facilitate discussion and understandings of the impacts of changing government policies on vulnerable populations, especially those who are in some respects made even more vulnerable by their faith in government, fear of government or are excluded from programs. It will give insights into the lived experiences that policy generates. Her research project has been generously funded by Eugene Cota-Robles, UC Mexus and the Associate Dean Fellowship at UCI.