Luis Tenorio

2022 Synar Graduate Research Fellowship

Luis Tenorio is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology as a Chancellor's Fellow and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Luis's research explores the intersections of immigration, social policy, citizenship, and the law. While his current work explores the effects of obtaining legal status, his prior work examines the legal processing and integration of Central American unaccompanied youth.

Luis' Research: Research has traced broad, significant social and economic detrimental impacts to being undocumented, suggesting legal permanent residency would significantly transform the lives of these individuals. Yet, we know little about what legal permanent residency yields and the mechanisms which may facilitate such transformations. Current scholarship offers competing perspectives of accumulated disadvantaged, modest benefits, and benefits mediated by context of reception (like geography or racial dynamics). My dissertation explores this puzzle by looking at the effects of legal permanent residency for formerly undocumented Latinos across the economic and social spheres of their lives. Specifically, I ask: How has obtaining legal permanent residency affected how Latino immigrants understand their constraints and possibilities with respect to the workplace and employment, social support and public benefits, and homeownership? What transformations do these shifts in understanding yield? How has legal permanent residency affected the development of their social capital networks, inclusive of both individuals (friends, peers, etc.) and organizations/institutions. How does time, place, and racial stratification shape these transformations or lack thereof? To investigate these questions, I conduct semi-structured in-depth interviews with formerly undocumented, now legal permanent resident Latinos in three U.S. metro areas—Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago. My qualitative approach focuses on the mechanisms by which the meaning- making and effects of the transition to legal permanent resident status take place—which quantitative studies have been limited in addressing. My findings can help inform policy and program proposals to support Latino immigrants. The Biden Administration has spearheaded an interagency initiative to advance naturalization rates and has supported legislative proposals to provide legal status to undocumented immigrants. My findings may inform how these policy proposals and efforts can be bolstered to improve the outcomes for Latino immigrants.

Research interests: 

Major(s): PHD Candidate, Sociology