Maneuvering the System: How Undocumented Latino/a Immigrants Survive and Adapt to Living in Lane County, Oregon
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Out of all fifty states, Oregon has the ninth highest population of undocumented immigrants as a proportion of the state's total population. I conducted 20 formal and informal interviews with undocumented Latino/a immigrants living in Eugene and Springfield in order to find out how these immigrants maneuver the system in order to acquire housing, work, social resources, and other things that they need to survive. These interviews ultimately revealed that immigrants use social capital to circumvent these barriers and that the largest barriers that they face to survival and integration all ultimately revolve around a lack of access to a government issued photo ID/driver's license and language barriers. After conducting these interviews and researching how other jurisdictions have worked to integrate immigrants, I offer specific local planning and public policy recommendations for how to collaboratively integrate undocumented Latino/a immigrants into our community.