Entering Multiple Systems
Bringing together the perspectives and professional practices of a social worker and immigration attorney who provide legal and social services to undocumented immigrant youth in Los Angeles, this chapter illustrates how new migrants to the United States must navigate a complex landscape that may include legal, educational, child welfare, and health care systems. These systems intersect, overlap, or diverge depending on how they come to the United States, their family networks, access to legal representation, the availability of health care services, and their educational environment. Focusing on the experiences of three youth, the authors show how different factors converge to create a range of outcomes that may serve or compromise the child’s interests. Legal status—while a potentially powerful step in changing one’s circumstances in the United States—is not necessarily sufficient for ensuring security for young immigrants. The authors advocate powerfully for an intersectional approach that can better serve young people as they move into, but also through and out of, intersecting systems.
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