Foiled Aspirations: The Inﬂuence of Unauthorized
Status on the Educational Expectations of Latino
Krista M. Perreira
Received: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 24 February 2015 / Published online: 7 March 2015
Ó Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015
Abstract Latino immigrant adolescents have the highest high school dropout rates
of any race-ethnic or nativity group in the United States. One potential reason for
high dropout rates among Latino immigrant youth is that many are unauthorized
entrants. These unauthorized Latino immigrant youth have few opportunities to
attend college, and, as they become aware of barriers to their educational progress
and employment, they may lower their educational expectations. Using data from
the Latino adolescent migration, health, and adaptation project (N = 275), we ex-
amine the association of unauthorized entry into the U.S. with the educational
expectations of Latino immigrant youth. We ﬁnd that adolescents entering the U.S.
without authorization have lower educational expectations than those who enter
with authorization. These differences in their expectations persist after controlling
for differences in their pre-migration, migration, and post-migration experiences.
Policies and programs that reduce barriers to higher education and labor market
opportunities can potentially help to foster higher educational expectations among
unauthorized immigrant youth and may promote their high school completion.
Keywords Latino Á Hispanic Á Immigrant Á Adolescent Á Educational expectations Á
Latino youth have the highest high school dropout rates in the United States.
Recently available data indicate that 21 % of Latinos ages 16–24, 8 % of non-
Latino blacks, 6 % of non-Latino Asians, and 5 % of non-Latino whites had
K. M. Perreira (&) Á L. Spees
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, 260 West Franklin St, CB #8120,
Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA
Popul Res Policy Rev (2015) 34:641–664