Methods: As a result of the experience, the team created a set of tools for advocates assisting newly arrived Central American refugees. The three key resources include: (1) an educational and outreach video documenting the experience of volunteer advocates and their clients; (2) a case example demonstrating the utility of exploring trauma narratives for providers struggling with secondary trauma; and (3) transdisciplinary recommendations aimed to decrease re-traumatization of detained immigrant clients through use of trauma-informed perspectives and practices.
Results: The perpetuation of dangerously false narratives, racialized narratives, paints Central American refugees as criminals. This is facilitated by existing systems of oppression including racism. The fact that these sentiments are promoted by the world's highest political office has broad implications for both micro and macro-level social work practice. Through disseminating these additional tools to better address the needs of newly arrived Central American refugees, this toolkit seeks to document helpful responses to the real national emergencyxenophobia.
Conclusions and Implications: Continued conversation must bring together researchers, educators, students and staff of organizations serving the most vulnerable racial/ethnic minorities whose life experiences led them to the U.S. We must acknowledge that a legal perspective alone is insufficient, akin to working with one hand tied behind our backs. The law often operates in a black and white paradigm, making it sometimes difficult to recognize the humanity of all people. Through dialogue we look to demonstrate why and how social workers and their perspective is uniquely suited for intervening with this population. This work is rooted in the narratives of the women and their children, those who participated in this journey and those seeking to provide culturally humble services and effective policy advocacy on behalf of impacted communitiesall of which will serve as a continuous reminder of the power of resilience.