Session: Social Service Organizations Along Migrant Pathways (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

58 Social Service Organizations Along Migrant Pathways

Friday, January 18, 2019: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Golden Gate 7, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Immigrants and Refugees (I&R)
Symposium Organizer:
John Doering-White, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Organizations, both community-based and transnational, are key sites of practice and negotiation with and for immigrants and refugees at various stages of migration, including pre-departure, transit, and arrival. An extensive body of social work literature examines how organizations contribute to the settlement and integration of migrants upon reaching destination countries, typically in the United States and Europe. Meanwhile, a growing body of research focuses on how organizations help immigrant communities cope with the consequences of deportation from countries in the global north. As removal and return disrupt linear narratives of sending and receiving, settlement and integration, new questions arise regarding the role of organizations working with immigrant and refugees at various points along migration corridors, such as the railway networks many Central Americans rely on to cross Mexico or the maritime crossing between Syria and Italy. Together, the papers in this symposium ask how we can link research and practice across the various stages of migration? What common theoretical, methodological, and practice challenges might we consider, for example, by bringing together research on community stability in poverty-stricken sending communities, humanitarian aid along migrant transit corridors, and innovative approaches to refugee settlement and integration?

In order to address these questions, this panel compiles a diverse array of social work research taking place within organizations at different points along migration corridors. In the sending context, Roth's (University of South Carolina) study of USAID funded organizations across El Salvador asks how youth development programming intersects with initiatives to combat gang violence and deter out-migration across Central America. In relation to transit migration, Doering-White (University of Michigan) relies on ethnographic methods to examine how a loose network of humanitarian migrant shelters that stretch between Mexico's southern and northern borders aid undocumented Central Americans hopping freight trains through Mexico. Similarly, Alessi (Rutgers University) and Kahn's (McGill University) mixed-methods study considers how LGBTQ forced migrants reflect on their experiences interacting with organizations and institutions along their migration routes from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries to the European Union, including experiences with organizations in the host countries of Austria and the Netherlands. Benson (University of Michigan) critically considers how refugee-led organizations that are marginalized within state fundings structures nonetheless extend the reach of state-recognized resettlement programs. Finally, Popescu examines an innovative university program in Germany that, amid a broader framework of securitization at the margins of Europe, aims to enroll and successfully guide refugees through degree programs. Ultimately, this panel hopes to promote rich conversation around factors that constrain and facilitate the work of organizations as they promote client self-determination in conversation with state frameworks that simultaneously include and exclude.

* noted as presenting author
Exploring LGBT Refugees' Experiences with Organizations and Institutions in Austria and the Netherlands
Edward Alessi, PhD, Rutgers University; Sara Kahn, McGill University
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