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Colloquium: Stephanie Canizales, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California Merced

November 8, 2023 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Without Parents nor Papers: Unaccompanied Migrant Youth Workers Coming of Age in the US

Stephanie L. Canizales

Each year, thousands of unaccompanied child migrants make their way from Latin America to the United States. “Without Parents nor Papers” unveils the untold migration stories of those who enter the U.S. clandestinely and remain unaccompanied as they come of age. From the perspectives of Central American and Mexican migrant youth in Los Angeles, California, this study reveals how growing up as unaccompanied teenagers and undocumented migrants, immigrant youth are thrust into exploitative, low-wage workplaces to support themselves and their left-behind families. The pressures to secure their own survival in the U.S. and financial obligations to families in the origin country, along with limited financial and social resource and mobility opportunities obligates youth to a life of work primacy. Outside of the workplace, the primacy of work conditions unaccompanied and undocumented youth’s opportunities for educational advancement, community embeddedness, and family relationships with effects on youth’s sense of self and the future as they come of age. This research advances our understanding of a growing immigrant youth population—unaccompanied minors—and their distinct incorporation processes by analyzing how the intermingling of migration and life course transitions are shaped by institutional context, familial obligations across borders, and social ties.



Stephanie L. Canizales, PhD, is a researcher, author, and professor currently appointed to the Department of Sociology at the University of California at Merced. Stephanie’s research specializations include international migration and immigrant integration; children, youth, and families; inequality, poverty, and mobility; and race and ethnicity. She uses in-depth interviews and ethnographic research methods to understand the causes of Latin American-origin migration to the U.S. and how immigrant children, youth, and families fare once there. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Stephanie is the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants whose experiences growing up as unaccompanied youth in Los Angeles inform her scholarship and motivate her commitment to public sociology and scholar-advocacy.



  • PhD in Sociology from the University of Southern California (2018).
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University (2018-2019).
  • Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology at the University of California at Merced (2019-2020).


November 8, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


UNC Social Forces
View Organizer Website


Hamilton Hall, Conference Room 271
102 Emerson DR
CHAPEL HILL, NC 27707 United States
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