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Latino Immigrants, Americans, and Undocumented Immigration

By Shaina Longway

From the Author: This is a research report written about a study I conducted for Dr.Katherine Research Methods in Psychology course. I chose to research a divisive political issue that has also had a large impact on my personal life: undocumented Latino immigration. In this paper, I did not intend to make any moral judgments or suggest “solutions”. Instead, I wanted to explore the often unheard voices of those most intimately involved in the debate, Latino immigrants themselves. I first surveyed both immigrants and Baltimore residents in a general study of opinions. I then conducted a series of personal interviews with documented and undocumented Latino immigrants to explore their individual experiences. This study uncovered complicated, sometimes contradictory, opinions and a wealth of experiences that negate the applicability of any universal rule, judgment, or stance towards the issue. In the time following this project, I find that it has only become more relevant, as the topic of undocumented immigration continues to appear in the national spotlight. Is it a problem? Is it a blessing? Is it a crime? Is it wrong? Is it fair? Who is to blame? Who is to be thanked? While I cannot answer these questions, it is my hope that this project reveals the deeply personal and complex nature of the debate.

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