Invisible students: institutional invisibility and access to education for undocumented children

Meloni, Francesca, Rousseau, Cécile, Ricard-Guay, Alexandra and Hanley, Jill (2017) Invisible students: institutional invisibility and access to education for undocumented children. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 13 (1). pp. 15-25. ISSN 1747-9894

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Purpose – In Canada, undocumented children are “institutionally invisible” – their access to education to be
found in unwritten and discretionary practices. Drawing on the experience of a three-year universitycommunity partnership among researchers, institutional and community stakeholders, the purpose of this
paper is to examine how undocumented children are constructed as excluded from school.
Design/methodology/approach – The establishment of this collaborative research space, helped to
critically understand how this exclusion was maintained, and highlighted contradictory interpretations of
policies and practices.
Findings – Proposing the analytical framework of “institutional invisibility”, the authors argue that issues of access
and entitlement for undocumented children have to be often understood within unwritten and ambiguous policies
and practices that make the lives of young people invisible to the institutional entities with which they interact.
Originality/value – The notion of institutional invisibility allows the authors to integrate the missing link between questions of access and deservingness. The paper also reflects on the role of action research in
both documenting dynamics and pathways of institutional invisibility, as well as in initiating social change – as
both horizontal, and vertical mobilisation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Canada, Education, Children, Youth, Migration, Action research, Entitlement, Access to social services, Undocumented migration, Undocumented children
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 12:04
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 12:20

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