Aranda’s research and teaching areas of expertise are on the immigration of Latinos in the United States and Florida, as well as Puerto Rican migration. Her research addresses issues such as how Latino young adults identify; how undocumented youth and young adults negotiate their presence in this country and manage the trials of being undocumented (including DACA’s affect); and the emotional challenges that Latinos often face regarding racism and inequality. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Services Council in Tampa, Florida, and has worked informally with the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
Examines the experiences of integration among Puerto Ricans living in a northeastern city and Puerto Ricans, who after having lived in the mainland U.S., returned to Puerto Rico.
Examines the many factors that shape emigration decisions among Latin American and Caribbean immigrants, as well as the challenges faced in making a new home in Miami.
Examines the benefits that undocumented young adult immigrants have gained through DACA, as well as the challenges that DACA presents when only some become eligible. Illustrates the burdens that affect young adults with DACA when they are the only ones in their families that have a provisional stay of deportation.
Argues that the immigration enforcement regime, consisting of national and local apprehension and detention practices coupled with the network of immigrant prisons, is a form of structural racism as it results in a disproportionate number of Latino immigrants in detention and removal proceedings. Illustrates the resulting racial inequalities that confront young adults and spill over into areas of their lives such as work, education, and relationships.
Argues that undocumented youth and young adults experience personal traumas related to their undocumented status, resulting in cultural traumas that shapes the contours of their American identities. Focuses on how they feel culturally American, despite experiencing a collective trauma that represents a barrier to feeling accepted in the U.S. society.
Examines the integration experiences of Puerto Ricans in Central Florida and how discrimination erodes their feelings of belonging in their respective communities.