Haas Scholars

Saida Cornejo

Entrepreneurial Illegality: Legal and Cultural Exclusion of Undocumented Entrepreneurs

Saida’s research explores how some undocumented migrants generate their income through entrepreneurship. Undocumented entrepreneurs are part of high barrier and low barrier industries, but their undocumented status leaves them vulnerable to policing and wage theft. Their vulnerability as migrants places them outside the traditional image of who an American entrepreneur represents which presents a set of challenges that otherwise goes unnoticed. Through qualitative interviews, Saida aims to reveal these challenges by examining how being viewed as illegal by law and society denies certain rights, privileges, and access to resources that foster a successful business. It is important to create more awareness about the limitations undocumented entrepreneurs face to inform policy decisions that benefit and support undocumented entrepreneurs.

  • Major: Legal Studies and Ethnic Studies
  • Mentor: Pablo Gonzalez, Chicano/Latino Studies