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Experiential Dual Frame of Reference: Family Consequences after DACA Youth Travel to Mexico through Advanced Parole

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Abstract

Out of 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, only 22,000 applied for Advance Parole to travel outside the United States before this benefit was rescinded by the Trump administration. This article sheds light on this DACA benefit that has received less scholarly attention. We conducted 23 in-depth interviews, half with DACA youth who traveled to Mexico for the first time and half with their undocumented parents who witnessed this trip from the United States. Our findings expand on four important bodies of immigration literature, including DACA recipients, mixed-status families, return migration, and transnational family ties. In this article, we show how this brief return to the homeland allowed the DACA youth, and by consequence, their parents, to have temporary healing by closing an old cycle or “cerrar ciclos,” as they said in Spanish. The youth also acquired an experiential dual frame of reference that enabled them to reflect and empathize with their parents and their reasons for immigrating to the United States. The post-trip debriefing with the youth made parents feel vindicated for their decision to bring their children when they were young. Ultimately, Advance Parole helped create stronger family bonds between the DACA youth and their parents and it strengthened transnational family and community ties.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. We thank Armando Vazquez-Ramos and Stefanie Martinez-Fuentes for help with data collection efforts, as well as all the DACA travelers and parents who participated.

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Correspondence to Emir Estrada.

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Estrada, E., Ruth, A. Experiential Dual Frame of Reference: Family Consequences after DACA Youth Travel to Mexico through Advanced Parole. Qual Sociol 44, 231–251 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-021-09481-4

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