Interview with an immigrant

8 August 2016

Migration has contributed to the richness in diversity of cultures, ethnicities and races in developed countries. However, individuals who migrate experience multiple stresses that can impact their mental well-being, including the loss of cultural norms, religious customs, and social support systems, adjustment to a new culture and changes in identity and concept of self. “Migration is defined as any permanent change in residence. It involves the ‘detachment from the organization of actives at one place and the movement of the total round of activities to another” (Drachman, Kwon-Ahn, Paulino, 1996, p. 627). Many influences can determine migration and why people migrate to where they do. One important theory that contributes to this idea of migration is the push-pull theory. The push-pull theory says that some people move because they are pushed out of their former location, whereas others move because they have been pulled, or attracted, to another location. “Push factors are generally negative, such as poor economic conditions, lack of opportunity, discrimination, political oppression, and war.

Whereas pull factors are generally positive, such as better economic opportunity, political freedom, and favorable reception toward immigrants” (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002, p. 13). In order to understand the resettlement and adaption of immigrants in a host country, it is critical to examine all aspects of an immigrant migration path. In light of this phenomenon is significant to understand this process through the lens of three stages of migration: premigration and departure, transit, and resettlement. Theses stages can serve as an ongoing frame of reference for evaluation and comparing their current experience in the host country.

Interview with an immigrant Essay Example

“The stage of migration framework provides a context for understating and helping immigrants families and individuals by linking the migration experiences in the original and intermediate countries with experiences in the country of destination” (Drachman, Kwon-Ahn, & Paulino, 1996, p. 627). Using this framework an interview was conduct to analyze the human experiences of migration in attempt to further gain insight on immigrant who take into account not only their economic needs but also social and cultural differences, which may or may not be accepted. For the privacy of the interviewee, the name Ms.

Stephenson will be disclosed for the purpose of confidentiality. Ms. Stephenson is a 52 year old woman whom resides in Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Stephenson country of origin is Haiti. Ms. Stephenson is of Catholic faith. Ms. Stephenson is well–educated women who received her bachelors Human Rights and Humanitarian Policies from Columbia University in New York City. Upon graduating Ms. Stephenson obtained a job as a Bi-lingual Case Manager. Ms. Stephenson moved to Connecticut in 2002 to work closely with the Haitian population in Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Stephenson is married with three children.

Ms. Stephenson would consider herself to be middle class. Ms. Stephenson distinguished herself as a Haitian-American. Premigration and Departure Stage The premigration and departure stage consist of the decision-making process to leave one’s origin country to move to another. This entails loss of family and social environment. “Separation from family and friends, the act of leaving a familiar environment, decision regarding who is left behind, life threating circumstances, and loss of significant others are some of the issue individual face in this stage” (Drachman & Pine, 2005, p. 545). Ms. Stephenson comes from a blue collar middle class family. Her father worked in construction and her mother was a school teacher. Ms. Stephenson states, “Education is very important in my family. My parents always worked hard to pave a brighter future for us”. Ms. Stephenson did not travel with family upon leaving Haiti. Her parents used their savings to provide financial support to their daughter. Ms. Stephenson did not leave abruptly. It was a planned process that detail a great deal of investigation where she will stay upon her arrival.

According to Potocky-Tripodi (2002), the losses are greater and the premigration and departure experience is more traumatic for refugees than for immigrants. Refugees often leave under hurried, chaotic, and dangerous conditions. There was a local shelter in New York where she would reside until she became financially stable. Her parents offered great social support and would assist her financially when they can. She states, “I am the oldest of three children. My parents made the choice for me to go to America for academic and economic advancement.

” She further states, “The reality in Haiti is quite far from the law: political, economic and social features of Haiti negatively affect most Haitians. Nonetheless, Haitian women experience additional barriers of our basic rights due to principal social beliefs that we are inferior to men and a historical pattern of discrimination and violence against us based on their sex. ” She continued by stating, “While I was a young girl president Jean-Claude Duvalier used widespread violence, including rape, as a means of suppressing opposition to his government. ” When Ms.

Stephenson was 20 years old, Psresident Raoul Cedras came into office with the same principles of victimization as way to oppress women. Ms. Stephenson stated, “My parents were fearful of me becoming victimized. As I often expressed my opposed ideas of this oppressed government. A year after his election my parents made the choice that it was time for me to go to America. ” Transit The transit stage involves the physical movement from one country to another. Ms. Stephenson journey was not that of a refugee, where it can be dangerous and life threatening. Ms. Stephenson traveled through transportation of plane to come to the United States.

Upon her arrival, Ms. Stephenson was detained by the authorities. “Immigrants who are taken into detention from a port-of-entry, most commonly an airport, are generally classified under U. S. Immigration law as “arriving aliens. ” Arriving aliens have no legally recognized right to enter the United States and are generally turned away at the port-of-entry. To avoid being turned away Ms. Stephenson stated to immigration officials, “Due to the sexual violence against women. I was fear full of returning to my country. I was feared that I will persecuted in my home country. Ms.

Stephenson was request to complete a “credible fear” interview which would determine. Ms. Stephenson was granted credibility fear of persecution. While waiting for her approval Ms. Stephenson had to be detained. Stephenson spent a year in an immigrant detention center in New York, where she witnessed the treatment received by undocumented migrants in those facilities, most of which are administered by private corporations. Ms. Stephenson states, “They were five very difficult months. As people, we have the right to freedom, and to be in prison is very difficult for any human being, above all if you haven’t committed any crime.

I felt that my pride and dignity being stripped from each second, minute, day, and month I spent in the detention center. ” While in custody at the dentation center, Ms. Stepson put her education to use to help others in translating documentations while detained. While detained, Ms. Stephenson witnessed the misuse and mistreatment of in individuals receiving medical care. She states: “Although I was not directly the victim of any kind of abuse, I certainly witnessed medical neglect. ” While in detention the center Ms. Stephenson became stressed as the process lingered.

“The word stress refers to the psychological discomfort or distress people frequently experience in daily life, especially while adjusting to new environment” (Drachman & Ryan, 2001, p. 660). Ms. Stephenson would often use the supports of other detention members to cushion the stress endured while detain, however the feeling of loss from family in his country of origin was very strenuous on his physical health. She states, ‘”Feeling the loss of family made me sick to the core. At night I would have cold sweats. At times I would vomit until I started dry-heaving.

” According to Drachman & Ryan (2001), losses also are associated with separation from members of their families and other social support networks. This experience can cause for greater stress and traumatic experience. Resettlement Stage The last stage of migration is the Resettlement Stage. The stage comprises of people’s stay in the new country. “Such issues include adaptation to the cultural norms of the new country; health and mental health problems; language, education, and employment issues; changing family dynamics; and relations between the newcomers and established residents” (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002, p. 20). After a stressful process, Ms. Stephenson was granted asylum. Ms. Stephenson stated, “I am blessed to be granted asylum. I witnessed many of my counterparts who were misfortune to have the same blessing bestowed on them. ” While waiting to apply for permanent residence, Ms. Stephenson resided with a fellow detainee whom had family residing in New York. Ms. Stephenson would pick-up jobs around the community a source of income. Ms. Stephenson experiences during the transit stage created great strain on her identity. She states, “I felt that I had to recreate myself.

The woman before her arrival to America was lost. The confinement she endure did not feel like “America”. The women who embraced her culture was confined to no more than a small room and cold steel bars. ” She further states, “That I was not looked as a Haitian women full of rich culture, I was only seen as black. ” According to Drachman and Ryan (2001), the search for identity and/or the recreation of identity are complicated processes for immigrants. They must reexamine and change their attitudes toward themselves, toward other ethnic groups and toward the dominate culture. Ms.

Stephenson picked up the pieces of her shattered identity and pursued to become an American. One year after the date which Ms. Stephenson was granted final asylum status, she applied for legal permanent residence. Ms. Stephenson worked at local market to provide an income and did receive government assistance. She states, “I was often frustrated with my earned wage, but I knew that is my only mean for finances. ” . “Immigrants often suffer the frustrations of being unemployed and regarded as fringe wage earners. Many immigrants willingly accept menial or semiskilled jobs in order to survive.

(Drachman & Ryan, 2001, p. 663). Ms. Stephenson did continue to receive family support. She states, “There was not a day that went by that I did not speak to my family on the phone. My family is my life line. ” “Social support provide emotional and tangible benefits to individuals. Literature has indicated that social supports directly affect immigrants who are exposed to demands or are experiencing stress” (Drachman & Ryan. 2001, p. 667). While working as cashier at a local market Ms. Stephenson noticed a sign that stated “Do not lose hope, when the sun goes down, the stars come out.

” Hope is what brought Ms. Stephenson to America. She notes, “It was hope that my parents had for me in their decision of me coming to America. It was hope that placed me on that plane that faithful day. And it was hope that abled me to get through the year of detention” Ms. Stephenson sought out services that helped her to further her academic career. Ms. Stephenson was able to enroll in Columbus University through grants, scholarships and a program known as Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). Ms. Stephenson graduated from Columbia University in 1999.

After graduating, she obtained a job as a Bi-lingual Case Manager in Brooklyn, New York. In 2002, she moved to Stamford, Connecticut where she works for International Institute of Connecticut, Inc. (IICI). Ms. Stephenson stated, “IICI is a nonprofit human service agency that addresses the need to provide new immigrants and refugees in Connecticut with services to help them become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community”. In 2005, Ms. Stephenson was pleased to state, “I became a United States Citizen”. Immigrants and Implications on Social Workers

Working toward fair and just immigration and refugee policies is important to the profession of social work and essential to the realization of human rights. Social workers recognize migration as a complex social, cultural, and political process. Social workers must provide advocacy in services among the immigrant and refugee population. Social workers should adhere to designs and coordinate community support programs for refugee families both in the U. S. and in other countries. Social workers will need to assist these groups in integrating into various aspects of U. S. society, including the educational system and the workforce.

When families migrate, they often separate and then reunify, which requires a redefining of the family. Cultural competency with immigrant children and families requires more than just learning about their culture. “Culturally competent social workers continually evaluate their practice and polices and procedures within their agencies to determine how they my better serve, and be more effective with, ethnic minority” (Potocky-Tripodi, 2002, p. 181). It also includes an understanding of the process of migration, the reasons families migrate, and the process of acculturation and related family or marital stressors.

Social Workers must become culturally competent when providing services to immigrants and their families. When a professional forms a working relationship with a client of a different ethnic or cultural (or religious, socio-economic, etc. ) background, the responsibility is on the professional to develop culturally-sensitive practices. This involves not only working to understand some basic information about the client’s culture, but also how the professional’s own culture and upbringing may affect his or her ability to work with a particular clientele. References

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