Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees

By Pallassana R. Balgopal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH
ASIAN IMMIGRANTS
Jayashree Nimmagadda and Pallassana R. Balgopal

Asians are the fastest-growing immigrant group in the United States, representing different ethnicities, cultures, socioeconomic classes, and generations. This diverse group is made up of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, Asian Indians, 1 Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians, and Thais, along with “other Asians,” “Pacific Islanders,” and “other Pacific Islanders.” Hawaiians, Samoans, and Guamanians are referred to as Pacific Islanders. People from Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau are the “other Pacific Islanders,” and Bangladeshis, Burmese, Indonesians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans are classified as “Other Asians”(U.S. Bureau of Census 1992).

In the 1990 census, the Asian or Pacific Islander (API) category had the following options: Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Asian-Indian, Samoan, Guamanian, and other API, but in 1997 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommended that federal statistics separate Asians and Pacific Islanders. In addition, the OMB has recommended that the 2000 census allow individuals to choose more than one race. This change will identify Asian Americans who have a non-Asian parent or grandparent or whose parents come from different Asian ethnic groups, and it will also mean that individuals are not obliged to choose one identity over another. This option, of course, will further complicate the task of determining who the Asian Americans are (Lee 1998).


BRIEF IMMIGRATION HISTORY

The immigration of Asians was made possible by the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which became fully operational in 1968. Between 1970 and 1980,

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