Profile picture for user gonzales.roberto

Roberto G. Gonzales

Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Connect with Roberto

About Roberto

Gonzales is a qualitative sociologist, whose research focuses on the ways in which legal and educational institutions shape the everyday experiences of poor, minority, and immigrant youth. Over the last decade he has been engaged in critical inquiry regarding what happens to undocumented immigrant children as they make transitions to adolescence and young adulthood. This research has helped scholars, policymakers, and educators gain a better understanding of their educational trajectories, how they come of age, and how a segment of these young people engages in civic and political activity. Professor Gonzales serves on the City of Chicago Office of New Americans Advisory Board, and has consulted with numerous immigrant-serving organizations throughout the U.S.

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Roberto G. Gonzales quoted by Donald E. Graham, "Something Awful is about to Happen. You Can Help Stop it." The Washington Post, February 12, 2018.
Roberto G. Gonzales quoted by Suzanne Gamboa, "Kelly's 'Lazy' Dreamer Comment is Racist and Obscures the Truth on DACA Numbers, Critics Say" NBC News, February 8, 2018.
Roberto G. Gonzales's research on Chris Woolston, "US Immigration Fight Heightens Legal Limbo for Young 'Dreamer' Scientists," Nature, January 19, 2018.
Roberto G. Gonzales quoted by Caitlin Cruz, "The Uncertain Future of 124,000 DACA Recipients in Texas" Texas Monthly, September 19, 2017.
Roberto G. Gonzales's research on DACA recipients discussed by Caitlin Cruz, "The Uncertain Future of 124,000 DACA Recipients in Texas," Texas Monthly, September 19, 2017.
Roberto G. Gonzales quoted on the quandary of undocumented young adults by Liz Mineo, "Fear among Some Immigrants" Harvard Gazette, November 10, 2016.
"Community Support Can Help Integrate Immigrants," Roberto G. Gonzales, Room for Debate, New York Times, September 12, 2016.
"Supreme Court Ruling Could Put Immigrants Deeper into Shadows," Roberto G. Gonzales, Boston Globe, June 23, 2016.
"How the Supreme Court’s Immigration Decision Hurts All of Us," Roberto G. Gonzales, The Washington Post, June 23, 2016.
Roberto G. Gonzales's research on immigrant children who lack legal status discussed by Stephen A. Nuño, "'Lives in Limbo': Undocumented Youth's Limited Opportunities," NBC, December 15, 2015.
Roberto G. Gonzales's research on undocumented youth discussed by Liz Mineo, "Struggle in the Shadows," Harvard Gazette, December 10, 2015.
Roberto G. Gonzales's research on undocumented youth in the U.S. discussed by Elaine McArdle, "What about the Dreamers?," Harvard Ed Magazine, August 24, 2015.
Roberto G. Gonzales quoted on Latino undergraduate students by Stephen A. Nuño, "Entering College? Latino Professors Share Some Great Advice" NBC News, August 21, 2015.
Roberto G. Gonzales quoted on Obama's immigration policy The Conversation, November 21, 2014.
"The President’s Executive Order: What Difference Will It Make for Immigrants?," Roberto G. Gonzales, The Conversation, November 21, 2014.
"Five Myths about the Dream Generation," Roberto G. Gonzales, The Washington Post, June 22, 2012.
"State Dream Acts Offer Important Opportunities to Undocumented Students," Roberto G. Gonzales, Huffington Post, September 8, 2011.
"We Cannot Afford to Not Pass the DREAM Act: A Plea from Immigration Scholars," Roberto G. Gonzales, Huffington Post, December 12, 2010.


"Segmented Pathways of Illegality: Reconciling the Coexistence of Master and Auxiliary Statuses in the Experiences of 1.5-Generation Undocumented Young Adults" (with Edelina Burciaga). Ethnicities 18, no. 2 (2018): 178-191.

In this article, we argue that the DACA population is not monolithic. Instead it is important to understand the factors that shape variation in the DACA experience.

"Unauthorized Status and Youth Development in the United States: Consensus Statement of the Society for Research on Adolescence" (with Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Carola Suárez-Orozco). Journal of Research on Adolescence 27, no. 1 (2017): 4-19.

Summarizes research evidence on multiple domains of child development that may be affected by a child or their parent's unauthorized status. 

"Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America" (University of California Press, 2015).

Introduces us to two groups of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since childhood: the college-goers and the early-exiters. Ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, despite the fact that higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America. Exposes the failures of a system that integrates children into K-12 schools but ultimately denies them the rewards of their labor.

"Framing Citizenship: Media Coverage of Anti-Deportation Cases Led by Undocumented Immigrant Youth Organisations" (with Caitlin Patler). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41, no. 9 (2015): 1453-1474.

Draws upon content analysis of English-language print and online coverage of undocumented immigrants whose anti-deportation campaigns were led by national undocumented youth organizations in the USA.

"Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA," (with Angie Bautista-Chavez), Immigration Policy Center, June 2014.
Presents findings from a national survey of young adults eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), assessing progress of DACA beneficiaries, and highlighting the limitations of the program.
"Becoming DACAmented" (with Veronica Terriquez and Stephen P. Ruszczyk). American Behavioral Scientist 58, no. 14 (2014): 1852-1872.

Provides new insights into how social policy interacts with other stratification processes to shape diverging pathways of incorporation among the general pool of undocumented immigrants.

"Dreaming Beyond the Fields: Undocumented Youth, Rural Realities, and a Constellation of Disadvantage" (with Ariel Ruiz). Latino Studies 12 (2014): 194-216.
Presents evidence that rural unauthorized immigrant students face additional challenges to higher education and mobility than their urban counterparts.
"No Place to Belong: Contextualizing Concepts of Mental Health among Undocumented Immigrant Youth in the United States" (with Carola Suárez-Orozco and Maria Cecilia Dedios). American Behavioral Scientist 57, no. 8 (2013): 1173-1198.
Demonstrates how unauthorized residency status adversely affects the health and well-being of undocumented immigrant young adults.
"‘Awakening to a Nightmare’: Abjectivity and Illegality in the Lives of Undocumented 1.5 Generation Latino Immigrants in the United States" (with Leo R. Chavez). Current Anthropology 53, no. 3 (2012): 255-281.
Explores the ways immigration policies and practices narrowly circumscribe the everyday lives of unauthorized immigrants.
"Learning to be Illegal: Undocumented Youth and Shifting Legal Contexts in the Transition to Adulthood" American Sociological Review 76, no. 4 (2011): 602-619.
Documents the ways unauthorized residency status depresses aspirations and shrinks options of unauthorized immigrant children as they transition through adolescence and young adulthood.
"On the Wrong Side of the Tracks: The Consequences of School Stratification Systems for Unauthorized Mexican Students" Peabody Journal of Education 85, no. 4 (2010): 469-485.
Demonstrates how school stratification mechanisms (i.e. tracking and sorting) shape high school and college transitions of unauthorized immigrant students.