I know this makes me old, but in 1979 I was working at Shawnee County Youth Center in Topeka Kansas with troubled teens that ranged from 9 years of age to about 22. Judges over the various cases struggled with what sentences to pass so that these young people would get the help they truly needed. Many of these young people were of Hispanic origin, and those in the US illegally were sent back to Mexico.
I worked with these troubled teens for eight years before starting my work as a school psychologist. Later, I went into private practice as a clinical psychologist. What I learned over that period of time was nothing short of amazing.
One of my observations in working with these young Hispanic men who were supposed “troubled teens,” was that they were in the United States in order to earn money that could be sent back to their families in Mexico.
They stayed even though there was overcrowding in their apartments and they had to get rides to work. They did it to care for their families. They were sad that they had to be in the US to find work. For whatever reason they didn’t have the option of earning a living in their home country of Mexico. We had to determine their age and give them a free flight back to Mexico City.
This experience forged a unique and true compassion for minorities. I have always enjoyed all aspects of Multicultural therapy, Multicultural discipline and Multicultural skills and assets when it comes to caring for immigrants living in the United States.
I have empathy towards these people because I’m keenly aware that we’re all immigrants; that is what the United States is made up of. I myself am a 3rd generation German living in the US. Which means that 120 years ago my family came over from Germany. Unbelievable!
This makes me just as much an immigrant as are the Hispanic Americans and others who are born in this country but whose parents do not have US citizenship. What’s the solution to the problem? I have no idea. I’m merely asking some questions and hoping to participate in the conversation.