This chapter focuses on a snapshot of current immigration patterns and a profile of the US immigrant population. It discusses the impetus behind immigration. Immigration is not only a current national issue. Given the great diversity and myriad needs of the growing immigrant population, it is essential that social workers understand the legal and political as well as psychological and social issues surrounding immigration. Chain migration is a process of movement from immigrants’ homelands that builds on networks of familiar social relationships to construct neighborhoods or communities within the places of habitation, which reflect the cultural norms and societal expectations of the homelands. Social workers who work with immigrants need to understand the personal immigration history of their clients in order to best help them. At many schools of social work, students have learned to view immigrant issues through a human rights lens.
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This chapter focuses on some culturally sensitive and competent ways to serve immigrant clients by examining what is meant by cultural competence in social work practice and how this applies to work with immigrant populations. It examines the institutional arrangements that contribute to ongoing racism and xenophobia and the kinds of responses needed to help integrate immigrants into the fabric of American society. Culturally competent social work practice (CCSWP) is an ethical responsibility for all social workers and an absolute necessity when working with immigrant populations. The social work profession has been very concerned about defining and preparing practitioners to engage in culturally competent practice. Learning to be culturally competent practitioners is not only important for professional social workers but also needs to be incorporated into the education of future social workers. Cultural competence begins with administrative support and encouragement, quality supervision and oversight, strong peer relationships, and manageable caseloads.
This chapter deals with major health care issues that social workers need to be familiar with in working with immigrants. It provides an introduction to the many complex, interconnected issues that social workers and their immigrant clients face as they navigate the US health care system in an attempt to obtain quality health care. The chapter focuses on some of the implications for social work practice that arise from public health issues and provides discussion questions and several case studies. Social workers can and should be vigilant in advocating for increased translator and interpreter services at their agency or medical setting, not just for the convenience of the patient, but for his or her safety and improved health. Social workers in the field of health care must actively address the issues of language, culture, and income/health insurance status as well as legal status when working with immigrants.
The children of immigrants can be today’s science competition winners and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, nurses and doctors, teachers, homeowners, and taxpayers. This chapter discusses ways in which social workers can help families get their children into school and obtain the educational services they need. The main focus is on public elementary and secondary schools, although the chapter includes some discussion of other educational alternatives. Education laws and policies vary from state to state; policies, indeed, vary even from school district to school district. It is true that many important aspects of educational system, such as school age and attendance requirements, residency rules, course requirements, and graduation criteria, are governed by state and local laws, rules, and policies. Parents have important rights and responsibilities in the educational system of the United States. Yet it is well known that parental participation can make a tremendous difference to a child’s education.
This chapter examines violence against women in immigrant and refugee communities, including the particular dynamics, risk factors, and consequences of violence against immigrant women. Immigrant and refugee women experience domestic, sexual, and other forms of violence in ways that are both similar and dissimilar to that experienced by women who are born in the United States, including those from marginalized communities. Women fleeing abusive situations, from female genital mutilation to domestic violence, may be able to claim protection under the Refugee Act, claiming fear of persecution based on their social group their status as women. Social workers, in collaboration with other service providers and immigration attorneys, can assist women who have been victims by helping them put together the evidence required to prove a case of abuse that may ultimately result in lawful permanent residence.
This chapter reviews the history of how US immigration laws have treated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) newcomers, why sponsorship by a same-sex partner may still not be an option for some, how LGBT people may be able to apply for asylum, issues related to transgender immigrants, challenges facing newcomers, and challenges facing social work providers. Anti-LGBT persecutors rarely have a nuanced understanding of how sexual orientation and gender identity are related. LGBT newcomers face unique challenges in accessing the social service system, beyond the universal hardships of language barrier and culture shock. The biggest challenges facing practitioners in social service settings include knowledge of the law and cultural competence. Social workers affiliated with religious or ethnic institutions may be viewed warily by LGBT people, especially if those communities perpetuated discrimination or persecution against them in their home country.
This chapter provides an overview of sociodemographics of older adult immigrants as well as the current social work scholarship on issues, assessments, and interventions related to older adult immigrants and their families. The sociodemographics of older adult immigrants in the United States (US), defined by the US Census Bureau as foreign born and 65 years of age and older, is shaped by immigration policy. The largest numbers of older immigrants who arrive in the US are female, many of whom are widowed, with low educational levels and impaired physical functioning. Understanding the eligibility of older adult immigrants for government benefits and services must go hand in hand with increasing the cultural competency of social workers and social service, physical health, and mental health agencies. Older adult immigrants who require nursing home services, as well as their families, may be concerned about the cultural sensitivity of the nursing home environment.
This chapter explores advocacy tools for the social worker community, whether acting as individuals, volunteers, and/or members of social service organizations. It discusses the importance of advocacy work for social workers engaged with immigrant clients. The chapter focuses on individual and micro advocacy strategies. It provides the advocacy tools for effecting long-lasting and systematic policy change around immigrants’ rights. Practicing social workers can invite local agencies and community members to train their chapters on everything from new ordinances or policies affecting local immigrants to react to events like raids, hate crimes, and civil rights violations. Advocacy organizations were realizing that systematic change at the government level could not occur without educating, organizing, and empowering the underrepresented to vote and elect good leaders. Whether acting as individuals, groups, or through advocacy organizations, social workers must rise up on behalf of their clients and the communities they serve.
This chapter addresses survey research and how to collect data for different populations we are interested in working with. While reading this chapter, consider the following questions: What strengths and resources do social workers have to develop surveys for different populations? Where should social workers start when building a survey? What are different ways social workers can recruit participants to participate in their survey to make sure they get a good sample? What additional resources will social workers need to help accomplish building a good survey? The chapter details the ways to collect data in survey research with questionnaires and interviews. Two basic types of questions are used in questionnaires and interviews: closed-ended or open-ended. Telephone surveys work best when the information desired is fairly simple and the questions are uncomplicated. Online surveys have many advantages. Survey researchers sometimes use focus groups as tools for developing questionnaires and interview schedules.
This chapter provides a brief description on the logic of experimentation. It then discusses the three categories of experimental designs: preexperimental designs; true experimental designs; and quasi-experimental designs. The chapter reviews four major threats to external validity as well as ways that these threats can be reduced. The threats include: reactive effects of testing; unrepresentative samples; reactive settings; and multiple-treatment interference. The chapter then briefs the advantage and disadvantages of experimental research. One should consider the following questions while reading this chapter: What different research designs will social workers need to know to obtain effectiveness? Which research design will social workers need to know to provide the most accurate information? How will social workers understanding threats to internal validity potentially impact experimental research? What can social workers do to decrease threats to internal validity? What additional resources would help social workers to successfully complete experimental research?