The national debate on America’s approach to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working here is not new, but there has been a dramatic increase in harmful anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies at both the federal and state levels in recent years. Examples of this “invisible wall” include detainment of migrant children at inhumane and inadequate facilities; bans on so-called “sanctuary cities,” forcing local entities to collaborate with federal immigration authorities; a likely end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects foreign-born children, who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, from deportation; increased raids by ICE in our communities; and a “public charge” rule change that will make it especially difficult for some low-income immigrants to enter the U.S. or obtain their Green Card.
Immigrants live in fear that they will be targeted for violence or deportation and their children are increasingly afraid to go to school, for fear their parents will be taken from them while they are gone. As a result, many of us in the social justice space feel understandably overwhelmed and helpless. These are our clients, friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers. But there are ways to fight back. This chat will highlight why macro practice is so important, what is driving an influx of immigrants to our Southern border, and how detention policies adversely harm hard-working individuals and families, many of whom have lived in the United States for decades. We will conclude the chat with concrete actions that all social workers can take to advance social justice for immigrants.
Here are the questions we will discuss:
- Can you tell us something about the NASW – FL Immigration Justice Task Force and how it came to be?
- Why is it important for every social worker to engage in practices that support immigrants seeking asylum and those who have lived in our country for many years?
- What issues are social workers seeing nationally with immigrants, and what is being done to support and better serve them?
- The current administration is proposing longer family detentions. What are the health and mental health consequences for families (especially children) in detention?
- Name an action you can take today to engage in advocacy for immigrants, whether you’re a micro or macro-focused social worker?