Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Smith, Laurie


This study explores the effects on the family system when undocumented parents voluntarily leave the U.S. to gain legal status while their children remain behind. This study looks into the financial, emotional, and relational burden caused by the separation in order to gain legal status. This information is important to find possible alternatives and resources that can help families who go through a similar situation. There is an estimate of 1.1 million undocumented immigrants that can be led to leave the U.S. to gain legal status and spend years in their home country, which could potentially mean separation of families (Three- and Ten-Year Re-Entry Bars Policy Brief, 2023). This case study used qualitative interviews to gather information from each family member. Interviews were conducted via Zoom to and transcribed for analysis. Major themes and sub-themes were identified. Analysis revealed a number of effects on family dynamics and interpersonal relationships due to voluntary leave from the U.S. to gain legal status.

Included in

Social Work Commons