Documenting and Uplifting Immigrant Lived Narratives through a Strength-Based Perspective

May 21, 2020

UCD Educational Policy PhD student Ambar Hernandez Negrete conducted an anonymous online survey that obtained responses from 330 immigrants that revealed their perceptions and responses to anti-migrant attitudes and policies.


Ambar Hernandez Negrete Photo.jpeg Under the current Trump Administration, the United States’ (US) explicit demonstrations of anti-immigrant sentiments and racial tension are increasingly forming part of the mainstream discourse and public debate. Drawing on a racist nativism framework, this study underscores how these discourses create ideological and material differences between immigrants and nonimmigrants that serve to justify the ongoing oppression of immigrant communities in the US (Perez Huber, Benavides Lopez, Malagon, Velez, & Solórzano, 2008). Further, this study aims to humanize and highlight the voices of immigrants across the nation by inquiring: What are some of the lived experiences and challenges that immigrants face under the current Trump administration? What support systems and resources have they used to overcome those challenges? Using an anonymous online survey co-developed alongside undergraduate students at UC Davis from immigrant backgrounds, we collected more than 330 immigrant narratives. Employing a qualitative thematic analytical approach (Merton, 1975), our findings reveal that immigrants cultivate a series of coping strategies and support systems to overcome challenging experiences with racist nativism.

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Siregar's Comments (Summary)

This paper aims to document voices of immigrants in the United States of America in the era of President Trump’s administration on two fronts. First, it documents immigrants’ voices on their experiences related to discrimination. Second, it documents immigrants’ coping mechanisms and resources in facing challenges from due to discrimination. The study has an important contribution in the literature especially in filling in the gap by documenting and studying experiences and perspectives of immigrants as research subjects. It is also able to include those who have undocumented status. Such research subjects have structurally less access to be represented or heard. The study collects data through anonymous online survey. Respondents are recruited in a snowball-sampling survey. There may be selection bias in the sampling. However, the study does not aim to have robust representation of the population and particularly would like to document perspectives and experiences. Hence, the data collection method is acceptable for the study’s objective. Furthermore, qualitative and primary data is analyzed using thematic-analysis approach.

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