Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Jessica Toft


Social Work


Undocumented Latino/a immigrants seeking social work services face additional challenges due to their immigration status, such as social isolation, trauma, a hostile political climate, and fear of deportation. The researcher of this systematic literature review sought to answer the research questions: “What factors do undocumented Latino/a immigrants identify as helpful when utilizing social work services?” and “What factors do undocumented Latino/a immigrants identify as hurtful or barriers when utilizing social work services?” A systematic review was conducted using the databases SOCIndex, PsycINFO, and Social Work Abstracts and variations of the search terms “Latino/a,” “immigrant,” and “social work services.” Articles that were peer-reviewed and directly incorporated the thoughts and opinions of immigrant clients were accepted for inclusion. In total, 14 articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria for this literature review. The following themes emerged regarding factors that Latino/a immigrant clients identified as helpful or hurtful when accessing social work services: 1) accessibility of social work services, 2) language and culture, 3) discrimination and prejudice, and 4) information and resources. Future research implications included the need to increase the amount of studies that directly incorporate the voices of undocumented immigrants. Future research should also examine the effects of the larger political climate on social work practice with undocumented immigrants. Practice implications included the need for social workers to provide accessible, culturally responsive, and bilingual services to their undocumented Latino/a immigrant clients.

Included in

Social Work Commons