Immigration and social work: Contrasting practice and education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This article will argue that the lack of immigration content in the training of social workers, particularly macro content related to the legal, economic/labor and regulatory context, affects the ability of practitioners to serve their immigrant clients. A broad spectrum of social work theoretical discourses is suggested as a desirable background for training in the area of immigration. Reference is made to the importance of experience and the need to incorporate anti-oppressive practices in an area often fraught by a law enforcement mentality. The term immigrant is used here to refer to individuals who arrive in a country seeking work and a better quality of life, whether considered 'legal or illegal', 'documented or undocumented' by the receiving country. While there are important differences between immigrants and refugees, much of what is discussed here in relation to immigrants can also be helpful in working with and training practitioners to serve refugees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Border areas
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Immigration
  • Macro discourses
  • Social work education
  • Social work practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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