Robin Valenzuela

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Indiana U., Bloomington

Grant number

Gr. 9676

Approve Date

April 19, 2018

Project Title

Valenzuela, Robin E., Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Navigating Parental Fitness: Noncitizen Parents and Transnational Family Reunification,' supervised by Dr. Sara Friedman

ROBIN VALENZUELA, then a graduate student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Navigating Parental Fitness: Noncitizen Parents and Transnational Family Reunification,’ supervised by Dr. Sara Friedman. One of the many consequences of an increasingly aggressive immigration enforcement system is the separation of U.S. citizen children from their unauthorized immigrant parents’particularly those from Mexico. In many cases, parents are separated from their children following allegations of abuse or neglect’allegations that many noncitizen parents encounter due to their usage of parenting practices that do not comport with U.S norms. In other cases, a parent’s detainment or deportation tears them away from their U.S citizen children. Left without a primary caretaker, such children are frequently placed in the foster care system and eventually adopted by U.S citizens. Ultimately, the separation of these families raises four important questions: how is parenting legislated through institutions that seek to protect children? How do noncitizen Mexican parents navigate Westernized parenting ideals in order to reunify with their children? What does the state’s regulation of parenting reveal about national belonging and ideal citizenship? How do child welfare personnel make transnational placement decisions? To explore such questions, this study engages in transnational ethnographic research in Chicago, Illinois and M’xico (Estado de M’xico, Michoac’n, Baja California), examining how noncitizen Mexican parents and child protection personnel navigate the child protection system domestically and transnationally.