Immigration And The United States

1430 Words6 Pages
Immigration is a major factor that is greatly contributing to the unprecedented demographic changes that are presently occurring in the United States. Limited literature exists concerning the psychosocial and mental health problems experienced by immigrants as a result of immigrating and subsequent adjustments. Undocumented immigrants have no legal rights and are often emotionally, physically, and economically abused. Without the right to vote and stay in the U.S. legally, immigrants have little power to change oppressive social structures. Given the dramatically growing immigrant population in the U.S., multicultural social justice counselors are confronted with a challenge to provide culturally responsive services for this population…show more content…
each year and approximately one-half million enter illegally (Migration Information Resource, 2010). Approximately 94% of undocumented immigrants live in urban areas (Passel & Cohn, 2009). From an employment perspective, immigrants constitute 22% of all low-wage workers and 40% of all low-skilled workers (Capps & Passel, 2004). The median household income for undocumented Mexican immigrants in 2007 was $32,000, as compared to $50,000 for U.S. born citizens (Passel & Cohn, 2009). In fact, 2/3 of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. work force earn salaries that are less than minimum wage (Passel, Capps, & Fix, 2004). A study of undocumented Mexican immigrant workers found that this population had completed an average of 7.7 years of school (Greene, 2003). When immigrants leave the country that was their home, they leave behind a familiar language, culture, community, and social system. Many suffer trauma from culture shock, difficulties finding food and shelter, and the likely losing one or all family members. These difficulties place immigrants at an increased risk for psychosocial problems, school failure, drug use, and other risk-taking behaviors. Mexicans are typically drawn to the U.S. by higher wages and the willingness of U.S. employers to hire them (Griswold, 2003). According to McCarthy (2009): “For many individuals coming to the United States in search of work, the potential economic benefits outweigh the
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