Session: Overcoming the Negative Effects of Immigration Legislation through Policy & Family Based Strategies (Society for Social Work and Research 20th Annual Conference - Grand Challenges for Social Work: Setting a Research Agenda for the Future)

284 Overcoming the Negative Effects of Immigration Legislation through Policy & Family Based Strategies

Sunday, January 17, 2016: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Ballroom Level-Renaissance Ballroom West Salon A (Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel)
Cluster: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration
Symposium Organizer:
David Becerra, PhD, Arizona State University
The Latino population has grown in the United States (US) and Latinos now represent the largest minority group in the US (US Census Bureau, 2013).  Recent immigration enforcement and restrictive policies exacerbate fear of deportation and discrimination among Latino immigrants, negatively impact mental health, and attempt to further restrict access to social services.  Despite these issues, Latinos use available social policies as well as their familial and cultural strengths, to confront these challenges. 

This symposium investigates the impact of recent immigration policies on Latino immigrant families, children, and women, as well as the policy and family based strategies Latino immigrants use to help address these issues.  This research is critical to ensuring a greater understanding of the current issues facing Latino immigrants and what strategies can be used to promote positive outcomes among Latino immigrants in the US.

The first paper in the symposium is a quantitative study of Latino immigrants (n=213) to examine the impact of recent immigration policies on the daily lives of Latino immigrants.  The results indicated that Latino immigrants who reported a greater fear of deportation also significantly more likely to report: 1) trouble keeping a job; 2) trouble finding a job; 3) having been asked for immigration documents; 3) that friends have suffered; and 4) that their family has suffered as a result of recent immigration policies.

The second paper is a qualitative study of Latino immigrant parents (n= 54) that examined the impact that recent immigration policies have had on their children.  The participants reported their children expressed constant fear and concern that the threat of deportation would lead to family separation and felt responsible for improving their families’ circumstances.  These conditions led to consistent displays of hypervigilance, sadness and crying; and possibly in need of clinical intervention.

Using a mixed-method design (quantitative, n=195; qualitative, n=12), the third paper examined the issues to examine the barriers to seeking an order of protection that Latina immigrants face.  The results indicated that the current anti-immigrant environment have created a climate of fear among immigrant victim-survivors of IPV and Latina immigrant survivors were less likely to know about orders of protection, and more likely to fear that if undocumented the police would not listen to them, or arrest their partner.

The final paper used focus groups to learn from Latino immigrant parents about the methods by which Latino immigrant parents protect their children from the deleterious effects of anti-immigration policies.  Parents protected youth by building their own capacity by pursuing education or obtaining legal status. Parent prepared by granting Statements of Guardianship to identified individuals who would care for their children should they be arrested or deported and engaged in means of obtaining legal immigration status. Furthermore, parents were proactive and advocated for changes in policies and their communities.             

Symposium participants will gain deeper understanding of how recent immigration policies have impacted Latino immigrants, but also how Latino immigrants can use available social policies and family strategies to improve outcomes for Latino immigrant communities.

* noted as presenting author
Beyond the Rhetoric: Examining the Impact of Immigration Policies on the Daily Lives of Latino Immigrants
David Becerra, PhD, Arizona State University; Jason Castillo, PhD, University of Utah
Pobrecitos Los Niños: The Emotional Impact of Anti-Immigration Policies on Latino Youth
Sandy Rubio-Hernandez, BA, Arizona State University; Cecilia Ayón, PhD, Arizona State University
Protection Order Use Among Immigrant Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence: Research and Policy Implications
Jill T. Messing, MSW, PhD, Arizona State University; Alesha Durfee, PhD, Arizona State University; Sujey Vega, PhD, Arizona State University
Luchamos Por Nuestros Hijos: Latino Immigrant Parents Strive to Protect Latino Youth from the Deleterious Effects of Anti-Immigration Policies
Sandy Rubio-Hernandez, BA, Arizona State University; Cecilia Ayón, PhD, Arizona State University
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