Date of Award
J. Adrian Castrejon, Ph.D.
Undocumented immigration has been an increasingly popular topic of conversation in both politics and academia over the past several decades. Studies have shown that undocumented immigrants deal with an array of distinctive difficulties as a result of their lack of legal status. The objectives of this research are to obtain a better understanding of the white undocumented experience through testimonials of young Eastern European immigrants and assessing what role white privilege plays in these experiences. This research is a steppingstone for academic work on undocumented immigration, as very few studies acknowledge the presence of white undocumented immigrants in the United States, or work on understanding their experiences and how they differentiate from the Latinx experience. It is imperative that we conduct more research on Dreamers, as this subgroup of undocumented people were raised and spent the majority of their lives in the United States and therefore have a much different story from those who came to the country as adults. It is also critical that we speak more about non-Latinx undocumented communities in order for us to understand the issue of undocumentedness holistically. This study brings the white undocumented experience to light by interviewing four undocumented immigrants from Eastern Europe for their testimonials on living in the United States without legal status. These testimonials are compared to previous research that has been done on the Latinx undocumented experience. From this research, it is now evident that Eastern European undocumented migrants do have an advantage in not being targeted and criminalized for their status, particularly due to their skin color and ethnicity; in the United States, undocumented immigration is solely affiliated with the Latinx population.
Borowska, Natalia, "White & Undocumented: The Undocumented Experience of Eastern European Dreamers" (2021). University Honors Program Senior Projects. 20.