Human Rights–Based Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Asylum Seekers in a Legal Service Organization

David Androff, Cherra Mathis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The human rights of immigrants and asylum seekers are threatened by the erosion of asylum and a system of crimmigration that combines immigration and criminal law. This paper explores social work practice with immigrants and asylum seekers in a legal service organization. A qualitative research study asked social workers, lawyers, and administrators (n = 27) to discuss the relationship between human rights and social work. Data from key informants were collected in five focus groups and one individual interview. Findings indicate that the participants see social work practice as an important response to the attack on immigrant and asylum seekers’ rights. Social workers identified human rights as a primary motivation for their practice, and integral to the profession. The findings also reveal that this legal service organization applies a rights-based approach by integrating social and legal services. Participants described how this rights-based approach protects and promotes the human rights of immigrants and asylum seekers. This paper illustrates the value of rights-based approaches and how they can be incorporated into social work practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-188
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Rights and Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Immigrants and asylum seekers
  • Legal services
  • Rights-based approach
  • Social work practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Human Rights–Based Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Asylum Seekers in a Legal Service Organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this