Immigration practices, both historical and current, has had various types of impacts on immigration policies and processes, as well as on people who have immigrated. According to Nilsson, Schale and Khamphakdy-Brown (2011) the various issues that face immigrant populations is pre and post immigration trauma, the acculturation process, poverty and low education and training levels. Immigration also impacts family relationships and possible language barriers. Immigration policies have always been exclusionary and biased against various cultural groups (Sue & Sue, 2013). For example, historically, European immigrants were granted citizenship more often than immigrants from other non-European countries. Sue and Sue (2013) state that citizenship and work visas are delayed or denied for Arab and Muslim immigrants. There are also laws that target immigrant communities, and range from laws the impact voting rights and processes, to laws that profile based on race. The implication for counselors is to both understand these barriers and to counsel, educate and advocate on their behalf.
Additionally, many of the issues that face immigrants also face refugees, both nationally and internationally. These issues also include poverty and limited or no access to education, training, mental health and health care resources. Refugees also face persecution and are unable to return to their home in their native country (Villalba, 2009). Mental health counselors need to understand the impact of trauma on their refugee clientele, as they may include physical torture and mental abuse in nature. According to Sue and Sue (2013) counselors will need to addr...
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...is type of evaluation while also incorporating assessment of one’s own self awareness and inclusion of marginalized groups in the advocacy process. It is necessary to evaluate the advocacy efforts on the marginalized groups and their experiences as well as the various costs of being a social justice advocate. It is expected that changes in social justice advocacy processes will occur over time and should be met with fluidity and flexibility.
Social justice advocacy is the process of counselors acting on the behalf of their clients’ best interest in many ways. These processes are necessary work due to the impact on fair and equitable access and quality to mental health care delivery at various levels. In summary, mental health counselors should always seek to advocate at some level because of the influence systems, and counselors, have on clients’ lives.
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