The Influence of Multicultural Psychology on Policies and Practices Regarding Immigration
Culture is a kind of cognitive schemas, social practices, and value systems that powerfully affect the human experience, including identities, emotions, and cognition. Immigrants represent a wide range of races, beliefs, and values. Their culture influences how they view, feel, and think about the new environment, the host communities, structures, social facilities, and every aspect of their new environment (Berry, 2001).
One way that multicultural psychology has positively affected practices concerning immigration is the reduction of prejudice. Proponents of a multicultural ideology hold that all cultural groups need to have the chance to maintain their basic language, traditions, values, and cultural norms (APA, 2012). According to APA (2012), this will enhance self-esteem, reduce prejudice among the systems they interact with, and enhance appreciation for group differences. Consequently, the country hosting the immigrants will benefit from the diverse groups that bring a wide range of skills. For instance, many jobs in the service sectors and businesses require diverse language skills, which will boost the country’s socioeconomic pillar.
Another example that APA (2012) poses is how policies have changed to protect the cultural toxicities of immigrants. For instance, homosexual behavior is deemed illegal in many countries, such as Yemen, Sudan, and Iran, and is punishable by death. In 1994, the asylum policy in the U.S. changed to include sexual orientation persecution so that those persecuted because of their sexual orientation may be protected in the new country.
Lastly, immigrants are reported to show less tendency to seek mental health care because of their cultural beliefs and the receptivity of the host population. However, multicultural psychology has changed this tendency; it allows immigrants to retain their identity and maintain family cohesion. The family’s support and cohesion have been linked to the immigrants’ psychological well-being. APA (2012) notes that a sense of belonging and a positive ethnic identity with one’s ethnic community is linked with high self-esteem and overall psychological well-being. This boosts the immigrants’ attitudes toward mental health care and reduces barriers to intervention, diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. Besides, the involvement of immigrant representatives in healthcare institutions encourages immigrants to seek mental health care due to reduced language barriers, familiarity with their ethnic community, and understanding of their culture in healthcare institutions.
Berry, J. W. (2001). A psychology of immigration. Journal of Social Issues, 57(3), 615-631.
Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration (2012). Crossroads: The Psychology of Immigration in the New Century. http://www.apa.org/topics/immigration/report.aspx
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How can multicultural psychology positively influence policies and practices regarding immigration?
Identify and discuss three examples from the report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration, Crossroads:
The Psychology of Immigration in the New Century at Immigration Report
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