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Elizabeth Aranda

Professor of Sociology, University of South Florida
Chapter Leader: Florida SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Elizabeth

Dr. Elizabeth Aranda studies migrant populations. (In particular, how they fare upon settlement to new countries.) Her recent research has focused on the emotional well-being of undocumented immigrant young adults and how Puerto Rican migrants who left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria have integrated into Central Florida's society. She has published two books and various articles on these research topics.


Understanding Puerto Rican Voting in the United States

  • Juan Arroyo-Flores
  • Alessandra Rosa

In the News

Opinion: "Helping an Undocumented Immigrant in Florida Could Soon Be Against the Law," Elizabeth Aranda, The Tampa Bay Times, March 26, 2023.
Opinion: "Lessons From Hurricane Maria’s Impact on Puerto Rico, Four Years Later|Column," Elizabeth Aranda, Tampa Bay Times, September 23, 2021.
Quoted by Tom Woolfe in "A Perfect Storm for DACA Recipients and Their Families," USF Magazine, April 10, 2021.
Quoted by Justin Wm. Moyer in "Virginia is Where This Family Now Lives, but Puerto Rico Will Always be Home," The Washington Post, November 14, 2017.
Quoted by Dylan Matthews in "What the Hurricane Maria Migration Will Do to Puerto Rico - and the U.S.," Vox, October 5, 2017.
Opinion: "How DACA Affected the Mental Health of Undocumented Young Adults," Elizabeth Aranda (with Elizabeth Vaquera), The Conversation, September 5, 2017.
Opinion: "The American Nightmare Dreamers Fear," Elizabeth Aranda, CNN, August 31, 2017.
Quoted by in "Major Hispanic Population Growth on Treasure Coast," Treasure Coast Palm Newspaper, November 15, 2015.
Opinion: "Immigration Reform Will Save Lives," Elizabeth Aranda (with Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez), CNN, November 18, 2014.
Guest on Bay News, August 6, 2014.
Quoted by Melissa Eichman in "Amid Immigration Crisis, Guatemalan Student Concerned for Friends Back Home," Bay News 9, July 11, 2014.
Opinion: "Lawmakers Can Give Dreamers Chance at Higher-Ed Success," Elizabeth Aranda (with Elizabeth Vaquera), Orlando Sentinel, May 1, 2014.
Opinion: "Minorities Often Face Pressure to Fit In," Elizabeth Aranda, Orlando Sentinel, March 11, 2013.
Opinion: "Poor and Homeless in Miami," Elizabeth Aranda, Miami Herald, February 7, 2007.
Opinion: "Let Poor Workers Unionize to Attain American Dream," Elizabeth Aranda, Miami Herald, April 18, 2006.


"The Paradoxes of DACA: Challenges for Young Undocumented Immigrant Identities and Belonging," (with Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez and Elizabeth Vaquera), Russell Sage Foundation, October 14, 2015.

Examines the benefits that undocumented young adult immigrants have gained through DACA, as well as the challenges that DACA presents when only some become eligible. Illustrates the burdens that affect young adults with DACA when they are the only ones in their families that have a provisional stay of deportation.

"Puerto Rican Families in Central Florida: Prejudice and Discrimination and Their Implications for Successful Integration" (with Fernando Rivera). Women, Gender, and Families of Color 4, no. 1 (2016): 57-85.

Examines the integration experiences of Puerto Ricans in Central Florida and how discrimination erodes their feelings of belonging in their respective communities.

"Personal and Cultural Trauma and the Ambivalent National Identities of Undocumented Young Adults in the U.S." (with Elizabeth Vaquera and Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez). Journal of Intercultural Studies 36, no. 5 (2015): 600-619.

Argues that undocumented youth and young adults experience personal traumas related to their undocumented status, resulting in cultural traumas that shapes the contours of their American identities. Focuses on how they feel culturally American, despite experiencing a collective trauma that represents a barrier to feeling accepted in the U.S. society.

"Racism, the Immigration Enforcement Regime, and the Implications for Racial Inequality in the Lives of Undocumented Young Adults" (with Elizabeth Vaquera). Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1, no. 1 (2015): 88-104.

Argues that the immigration enforcement regime, consisting of national and local apprehension and detention practices coupled with the network of immigrant prisons, is a form of structural racism as it results in a disproportionate number of Latino immigrants in detention and removal proceedings. Illustrates the resulting racial inequalities that confront young adults and spill over into areas of their lives such as work, education, and relationships.

"Making a Life in Multiethnic Miami: Immigration and the Rise of a Global City" (with Sallie Hughes and Elena Sabogal) (Lynne Rienner Press, 2014).

Examines the many factors that shape emigration decisions among Latin American and Caribbean immigrants, as well as the challenges faced in making a new home in Miami. 

"Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico: Migration, Return Migration, and the Struggles of Incorporation" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).

Examines the experiences of integration among Puerto Ricans living in a northeastern city and Puerto Ricans, who after having lived in the mainland U.S., returned to Puerto Rico.