Lucia Leon grew up in Orange County, California where she began organizing with undocumented youth and their families in the mid-2000s.
Her commitment to social justice and research interest on migration is profoundly shaped by her family’s experience with the family reunification process and her own political and intellectual trajectory as an undocumented immigrant of nearly 20 years. Her dissertation, “Intersectional Illegalities: Latina/o Undocumented Young Adults and the Marriage-Based Legalization Process,” combines a legal consciousness and intersectional framework to examine how discrete, yet intersecting markers of race, gender and sexuality interact to shape the legalization process for undocumented migrants in Los Angeles, California. Her research provides an empirical examination of a high stakes process to demonstrate how young adults interpret, comply with, or challenge a complex immigration system that can propel them into a path to citizenship or further their vulnerability for detention and deportation.
Lucia is currently co-creating a collaborative and community space with fellow scholars of migration through the founding of the Undocumented and Formerly Undocumented Migration Working Group. Through multi-authored papers, projects, and gatherings the workgroup addresses the unique challenges in the research process for current and formerly undocumented scholars who draw on their experiences with migration when theorizing and working with undocumented communities.