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Silent Struggles—the Plight of Undocumented Students in Social Work Education


The purpose of this article is to explore factors that impact undocumented students in higher education in the USA. First, we explore the immigrant population in the USA and examine educational attainment among undocumented immigrants. Second, we highlight key contextual factors and political forces that impact undocumented students. Next, we discuss the ethical issues that arise for both undocumented students and faculty. Lastly, we suggest recommendations to improve the access to and experience of undocumented students in institutions of higher learning within the context of social work education, including suggestions for faculty.

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Author information

Correspondence to Melody Loya.

Additional information

Huber and Malagon (2007) conducted six in-depth interviews with Latina/o college students in California. Through their research, they explore the obstacles and challenges faced by Latina/o undocumented students. The title of their article “Silenced Struggles” was fitting for our article so we borrowed and slightly altered our title.

This article has not been published nor has it been submitted simultaneously for consideration elsewhere.

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Loya, M., Jones, S., Sun, H. et al. Silent Struggles—the Plight of Undocumented Students in Social Work Education. Glob Soc Welf 4, 199–207 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-016-0045-5

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  • Immigration
  • Undocumented students
  • Education
  • Higher education