The Utah Immigrant Experience: Social Services and Setbacks


Grant Holyoak

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

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While federal immigration overhaul remains out of reach, state governments have enacted drastically different policies that shape the immigrant experience within their borders. Today Utah finds itself with conflicting immigration policy initiatives, attempting to balance the lenient immigrant paradigms expressed in the Utah Compact with strict funding requirements laid out in SB-81. Part of a larger research initiative undertaken by multiple faculty and students within the USU Sociology and Social Work Programs, this project focuses on the impacts of current Utah immigration law on social services and their ability to cater to the states (largely Latino) immigrant population. Data were collected through multiple in-depth interviews with leaders of community and state organizations in Utah. Their responses highlight the social services available to Utah immigrants, how they become eligible for aid, and current obstacles that deter immigrant participation in the various programs. Common trends and themes of the interviews are discussed, with emphasis placed on addressing social service gaps in order to better the social, political, and economic conditions of the Utah immigrant population.

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