Many people experiencing homelessness are immigrants, some of which are undocumented. With the recent political legislature, more immigrants are facing homelessness, housing discrimination, and some are living in detention centers still separated from their children. In 2016, the Pew Research Center estimated an immigrant population of 43.7 million (1). Approximately 25% or around 10 million of this population is undocumented or living here without a legal status (2). Mexico is the top origin of country, accounting for 26% of the US immigration population or 11.6 million people (1). Almost half (46%) of all immigrants reside in California, Texas, and New York (1). In 2016, 340,000 immigrants were deported; of the 340,000, 60% did not have any criminal convictions (1). Read more facts about Immigrant Detention Centers and ICE here.
According to Pew Center Research, Americans view immigrants in different ways based upon their country of origin (1). A direct quote from this articles states, “More than four-in-ten Americans expressed mostly positive views of Asian (47%) and European immigrants (44%), yet only a quarter expressed such views of African and Latin American immigrants (26% each).” Positive and negative views towards immigration was also strongly correlated to the political party participants associated themselves with. In addition, recent racial epithets made by political figures have created a more fearful and chaotic environment for these groups of people; because of this more evident display of racial biases other groups of people are more openly showing their discrimination towards specific groups of immigrants (mainly Latin and African American). As a result, many immigrants are not seeking refuge in shelters out of fear of being asked their legal status/deportation, being denied services, or facing other forms of discrimination (3). As a caseworker, there are ways you can help and protect your clients. Here’s some information on how to help protect any of your clients experiencing these situations (4):