Social work students study local views on immigration

A group of Northwestern College social work students has surveyed Sioux County residents regarding recent immigrants and is recommending steps for continued education and communication about this issue.

Students in Theory and Practice 3: Social Work With Organizations and Communities conducted a telephone survey of community attitudes and knowledge about Hispanic immigrants Nov. 17-20. They presented results of their study at a public forum in Orange City's Town Hall on Dec. 11.

The students called more than 400 randomly selected phone numbers in Orange City, Alton and Maurice. Two hundred people agreed to take the 35-question survey. Among the results: Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they think the newcomers strengthen the community, and 52 percent of respondents said they believe Hispanic immigrants are discriminated against in Sioux County.

The phone survey grew out of a countywide focus group that met six times during 2008 on various immigration issues after concern was raised that immigrants were being targeted by county law enforcement.

At the forum, Northwestern senior Julia Rathbun revealed the students' recommendations for the community: Create Sunday school lessons using the focus group topics, hold activities to encourage immigrants and longtime residents to get to know each other, and hold events to educate people about each other.

Sioux City Journal article (12/7/08)
Sioux City Journal article (12/12/08)