Bianca Rodriguez, M.S.


Education: Bachelor of Arts in sociology (December 2017)

Master of Science in criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University

McNair Project: Which Way Home? Push/Pull Factors in Unaccompanied Children’s Journey Towards the American Dream (2016)

Mentor: Norma Valenzuela, Ph.D.

Latin American immigration to the United States has become an increasingly hot topic, especially with the upcoming presidential election. Often, unaccompanied alien children (UAC) are disregarded in their struggles in an unfamiliar country without adult guidance. Their numbers have drastically increased in recent years due to extreme violence and poverty in their home countries and hopes of attaining work and education in the U.S. Upon arrival, government agencies apprehend and place UAC in either the homes of family members, foster homes, or detention centers. Each of these comes with potential threats to UAC physically, mentally and emotionally. Once reaching age eighteen, UAC are removed from their sponsors’ homes and are provided the grim realities of either immigration court to proceed with deportation or homelessness. With the current systems in place, UAC are criminalized from early ages that prevent them from realizing their potential and attaining the American Dream in adulthood.