For nearly two decades, Cal State Fullerton education researcher Julián Jefferies has been a champion for undocumented Latino youth and a staunch supporter of immigrant rights.
To further his research on immigrant students, Jefferies has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar and will conduct research in Guadalajara, Mexico, focusing on the experiences of adolescent migrants who have returned to Mexico, their reintegration into school and teacher perceptions of these students.
"I hope to learn more about what these adolescents are experiencing in schools and how they're adapting to a new life in Mexico," said Jefferies, assistant professor of literacy and reading education. "It has been a lifelong goal to be able to collaborate with researchers from Mexico on this topic."
Since 2008, more than 2 million immigrants have returned to Mexico, voluntarily or due to deportations, Jefferies noted. "Many of these families have gone back with their U.S.-born children who are struggling to adapt to schools in Mexico, due to cultural and language barriers," he said.
Beginning in January, Jefferies will spend six months collaborating with scholars at the Universidad de Guadalajara. His research also will seek to better understand the consequences of immigration policies in the U.S. and implications for public policy regarding how teacher education can better serve these students in Mexico and the U.S. He will create curricula, lesson plans and resources that high school teachers in Mexico can use in order to better serve these students.
While in Mexico, Jefferies also plans to strengthen relationships with Universidad de Guadalajara for CSUF's Guadalajara Transnational Migration Program, which he directs. This study abroad program at the Mexican university offers CSUF students the opportunity to engage in service-learning related to Latino/a immigration issues to the U.S. Guadalajara has had a long history of migration to Southern California, Jefferies noted.
Jefferies arrived in the United States as undocumented student from Argentina, became a permanent resident in 2010, and three years later, a U.S. citizen. He now lives in Anaheim. His work as a Fulbright Scholar willnot only have relevance to his own personal and academic life, but to the immigration issues at the forefront of today's national discussions.
"There has never been a more important need for a scientific study of immigration," said Jefferies, who earned his doctorate in education from Boston College. "We need a more humane and rational description of why immigrants move and how U.S. policy affects their labor and human rights."