Date of Graduation

Fall 12-22-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership (O&L)


School of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Danfeng Soto-Vigil Koon


Abstract Between 2012 and 2017, undocumented youth in the United States with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status were able to apply for Advance Parole permissions to travel abroad for educational purposes. During this time, DACA students attending colleges and universities across the nation engaged in study abroad through established education abroad programs. This qualitative study examines undocumented students’ decision to pursue educational abroad opportunities during their undergraduate education in the context of national, state and institutional policies and climate and compares and contrasts the experiences of the undocumented college students who successfully studied abroad with those who either attempted but did not go or never accessed the opportunity. The study uses a Critical Policy Analysis methodological approach to uncover how the decision to study abroad impacts students’ undergraduate experience and future planning. Critical Policy Analysis examines power and privilege imbalances and goes beyond the linear fashion of a Traditional Policy Analysis approach. This temporary and now halted program shows the three main findings of how 1) the policies that intersect immigration and education can both be empowering and disempowering 2) through the consideration of study abroad, undocumented students question and challenge their place in the hierarchy that exist between them and other documented students and also between them and other undocumented youth, and 3) due to the gap that exists between policy rhetoric and practices, undocumented students exist by living within the limitations of policies while at the same time, finding ways to resist against those limitations.