This chapter examines the various issues immigrants may experience regarding access to health services within the U.S. healthcare system. The chapter describes current federal legislation governing healthcare issues facing immigrants and refugees, covering how immigration status (documented vs. undocumented, etc.) impacts access to healthcare. The chapter also examines the numerous barriers in place impacting immigrants in accessing healthcare, as well as macro public health issues affecting immigrant communities. The chapter concludes with recommendations for social workers when providing healthcare in immigrant and refugee communities.
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Effective practice with immigrants promotes their well-being and should be guided by several considerations that include a multisystem perspective, theoretical perspectives that illuminate their challenges and lived experience, and is based on family assessment and culturally competent skills. In line with this, this chapter focuses on several specific considerations. For one, there is a need to understand immigrant experiences within a multitude of considerations that include psychological, emotional, interpersonal, familial, economic, and government policy factors. Moreover, family systems and ecosystems theories are proposed to illuminate family and intergenerational dynamics, adaptation, and contextual factors that are essential to apply in the process of individualizing what is unique to immigrant clients. Perspectives such intersectionality, oppression, and cultural humility are discussed as essential for social workers to engage and work with immigrants. We emphasize how current perspectives on culturally relevant practice are premised on antioppression values and skills. Finally, we focus on the importance of practitioners having knowledge and skills in the application of the culturagram as a family assessment tool and culturally relevant, antioppression intervention with immigrants.
This chapter convers the intersection of immigrants and housing rights, access, and eligibility. The chapter covers key legislation providing for affordable and public housing. The chapter further describes challenges to housing access, based on immigration status and the Public Charge Rule. The chapter concludes with discussion of homeownership which allows immigrants to build wealth and contribute to society.
This chapter describes the vital role that nonprofits play in supporting immigrants and refugees in their integration into their communities and their continued resiliency. The chapter lists the four core areas or competencies at work in making nonprofits effective: programs and services that meet the needs of the communities served; human resources staff and volunteers who are bilingual/bicultural; a board of directors that lives, works, or plays where the immigrant community lives and understands their challenges as well as assets; and operations such as marketing that ensure that immigrants know about and can access the nonprofit organization.
Historically, social work practice with immigrants has focused on young families and children. With the demographic aging of the world’s population in the 20th and 21st centuries, this has begun to change. Even so, gerontological social work in general has been slow to develop fully in the social work profession and even slower to work with aging immigrants. With global aging, immigrants have become older as well, both in terms of those who immigrated at a younger age and aged with unresolved immigrant status, and those who immigrated as older adults. While the U.S. social welfare system was initially open to older immigrants, eligibility criteria began to tighten in the 1980s and 1990s, becoming increasingly restrictive by the 21st century. Community-based services provided through the aging service network and adult protective service programs continue to be open to older adults regardless of citizenship status, however public entitlements that fund cash grant assistance programs, long-term care services and health care are limited, and often unavailable. Social workers need to develop not only culturally sensitive practice skills but also a sophisticated understanding of social welfare benefits and programs for which older adult immigrant clients are eligible. The social work code of ethics requires that practice skills include advocacy with government and service programs to ensure that older adult immigrants are provided those services and resources needed to live safe and dignified lives.
This chapter covers the connections between the criminal justice system and immigration—crimimmigration. The chapter examines the challenges that noncitizens—immigrants, refugees and the undocumented—face when navigating the criminal justice system, specifically the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. The chapter also explores as the role that race and ethnicity play in how noncitizens interact with and are treated within the system. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the role of social workers in crimmigration, through an exploration of various methods in which they may advocate for immigrants within the criminal justice system, including education, support, and resistance.
This chapter provides highlights of past and current instances of the forced movement of people. From the current universally accepted definition of refugee as defined by the United Nations, the chapter then describes how Africa and Latin America expand the definition. The chapter then provides a framework of the three durable solutions for refugee protection. Against that backdrop, the chapter concludes by describing the process resettlement for refugees outside of the United States as well as the process for applying for asylum for those persons already in the United States.
This chapter covers the nuances of gender-based violence (
GBV) toward women in immigrant communities. It begins by describing the various dynamics, risk factors, and consequences of GBVagainst immigrant women. The discussion provides an overview of the numerous types of GBV, sociocultural and sociopolitical factors, as well as cultural context and norms. The chapter concludes with recommendations for social workers in considering and addressing of GBVin immigrant communities.
This chapter covers the intersection of immigration and employment. It includes the various dynamics that come into play when immigrants join the workforce, including the barriers they may face in employer hiring practices such as discrimination or a lack of documentation. It then discusses the numerous challenges and violations of labor rights that immigrants may encounter once they are in the workforce. It concludes with a critical examination of several methods of remedying labor violations, and how different strategies may help to enforce workplace rights for individual immigrants and immigrant communities.
This chapter discusses issues that confront immigrant children and parents and those attempting to help them navigate the American educational system. Besides describing legal rights and procedures, the chapter suggests practical approaches that social workers can use in helping families advocate for the educational services their children may need.