Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Gregory Koehle


In the criminal justice system, the victim possesses the power to determine if crime goes unreported. The problem addressed by this study is if sanctuary type policies have an effect on victimization reporting by immigrants. The theoretical framework was based on Appleton-Dyer and Field’s interpretation of social exclusion theory. The key research question was focused on the perception of legal aid providers’ perception of immigrants’ victimization reporting determination. This qualitative phenomenological study included interviews with 4 legal aid providers who worked for an organization designed to serve victimized immigrants seeking relief. The data were coded and analyzed manually. Findings revealed that victimized immigrants in the United States navigate a constantly evolving system that realizes new policies with each new administration. Due to fear and a lack of knowledge on the behalf of immigrant victims, decisions are made without fully understanding the outcome. Recommendations include continued research in sanctuary policy cities and states encompassing multiple organizations or utilizing immigrants as participants. The findings from this study provide empirical information on the decision-making process of victimized immigrants related to sanctuary policies that can be used by legal aid providers and legislators to make the communities of this America safer.