Is legal status a master status for migrant belonging? If not, how do other factors--such as social networks, religious participation, language and cultural familiarity--shape belonging? Over the past few years, some migration scholars have suggested that legal status is a "master status"which determines migrant outcomes (Gonzales 2015). Other literature suggests that migrant outcomes are determined by a variety of factors, asserting that migrant experiences can be better understood by studying the interaction between these factors (Enriquez 2017; Valdez and Golash-Boza 2020). Utilizing 73 semi-structured interviews with migrants in Utah, I compare the experiences of refugees, permanent migrants, temporary migrants, and unauthorized migrants through an interrelational perspective and evaluate how legal status and other factors shape their sense of belonging across legal, economic, social, and cultural spheres. In testing whether or not legal status is a "master status,"I find that legal status matters, though other factors are also salient. Numerous factors affect belonging (e.g., religion, language, and social networks) and within some spheres, these other factors outweigh legal status in shaping integration and belonging. These findings suggest that legal status is not always a "master status,"and migrants can access multiple pathways to achieve belonging beyond their legal status.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Soto, Claudia, "More Than One Way: How Migrants Are Able to Achieve Belonging Beyond Their Legal Status" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9135.
immigration, belonging, legal status, race, economic, cultural, social