Survival in the Face of Scarcity: The Undocumented Immigrant Experience

In this Article, I attempt to build an empathy bridge between readers and a group of undocumented immigrants living in the American southwest, applying original qualitative research to scarcity theory. While the original empirical study discussed here was designed to bring out the financial realities of the participants, including their credit and banking habits, we uncovered some unrelated themes, including a general feeling among participants of being taken advantage of on the basis of immigration status, as well as an unwillingness to use the court system to right wrongs, even when there was a clear legal right to do so. We conclude that being undocumented has many predictable deleterious consequences, as well as some relatively unpredictable ones.