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(Sources: Hayes-Bautista, 1988; Perez y Gonzalez, 2000).
Conclusions - General characteristics of immigrant families - Most Latino immigrants fall into two solid groups when coming to America -- rural and seasonal farm workers; many following the crops from Texas through California and back, and many into the cities where better paying, and more stable, jobs are available. Luis and Maria moved to a larger city because they were told that it would be "easier on them." Cities exist for many reasons and the diversity of urban form and function can be traced to the complex roles that cities perform. Cities serve as centers of storage, commerce, and industry. The agricultural surplus from the surrounding country hinterland is processed and distributed within the city. Urban areas have also developed around marketplaces, where imported goods from distant places could be exchanged for the local products. Throughout history, cities have been founded at the intersections of transportation routes, or at points where market goods must shift from one mode of transportation to another such as river or ocean ports as well as railways. Cities are also sites of enormous religious and cultural significance not to mention being the center of administrative action (Perez y Gonzalez, 2002).
For Latino immigrants, cities are assumed to be a utopia of the possible; one in which there is economic wealth, job security, political refuge, and religious sanctity. However, with the rise of the industrial city and the onset of mass media, the city can has its dystopian features as well. Urban areas are plagued by enormous and widespread poverty intermingled with prodigious wealth. The plight of the poor within the city has not been a facet of traditional anthropological inquiry until the prevalence of urban anthropology and studies that evolved in the late twentieth century (Gabaccia, 2003).
For many Hispanic families, violence is a pervasive presence in the lives of young people in urban communities in the United States. Despite recent declines in murder rates, homicide is a leading cause of death and injury among young people, especially those in urban areas. A recent study showed that in New York City, "one in four adolescent girls in the United States has been sexually or physically abused or forced to have sex against her will. National surveys show that almost one-fifth (18%) of high school students have carried a weapon to school at least one day in the last month and that 37% had engaged in a physical fight in the last year" (Begolla, 2009). This violence is particularly prevalent in areas of urban poverty and discontent. Other characteristics of such activity are the flagrant and widespread use of heavily addictive and illegal substances such as crack or heroin. Studies show the rise in physical exposure to violence among children and adolescents, particularly within urban neighborhoods (Fox, 1997).
Learning about individual differences particularly those surrounding ethic issues is essential for the modern social worker. Especially focusing on at-risk populations, recent immigrants, and/or marginalized populations, the modern nurse can make a unique contribution to the field of medicine; not as doctor's assistants, but as the insight and focus they provide on the human condition. Social work is moving from a semi-profession to a true model of client advocacy, healthcare, decision making, and the treatment of a patient as a holistic model. Today, patients actively seek out social workers, not merely as aides, but because of the insights, caring, and specializations offered by the profession (Delgado, 2007).
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Delgao, M. (2007). Social Work With Latinos: A Cultural Asset Program. New York:
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Puerto Rican Based
Work for Luis & Maria
The Hernan Family
Friends & Cultural Ties
Religious & Social Ties
School and Friends
P.R. Immigrant Community
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