Many foreigners who decide to make the United States their new home do so with the intention of improving their lives. In the case of the thousands of Central American migrants escaping the violence and extreme poverty caused by the “War on Drugs,” they’re essentially fighting for survival, but this doesn’t mean they’re able to find instant relief when they arrive at the southern border. In fact, many of them will later suffer from a condition researchers refer to as immigration trauma or immigration stress.
The Challenges of Acculturation
Mental health researchers from Boston College have evaluated immigration stress to clearly define it as a condition that isn’t entirely related to improper acculturation. The psychological process of easing into a different culture and a new way of life isn’t simple. Americans would like nothing more than to see immigrants fully integrate and assimilate into society, but the majority aren’t aware of what this entails. Moreover, they’re not always aware of the multiple obstacles created by an immigration system that has been in shambles for a while.
Psychological acculturation is primarily defined by language, ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, and the way everyday life is handled within communities and sectors of society. In the case of Canadians from British Columbia who choose to make their new lives in Seattle, for example, the acculturation process should be pretty smooth. We could say the same for Mexican immigrants from Baja California who settle in San Diego. We really can’t say the same for a Malayalam family moving to Wyoming with only rudimentary knowledge of the English language.
Immigration stress begins with a difficult process of acculturation, but it’s often exacerbated by other factors such as racism, xenophobia, harsh working conditions, poverty, political bias, bureaucratic dysfunction, and overall uncertainty. Culture shock is only the beginning, and it’s not so difficult to deal with once there’s a firm realization of coexistence.
Adjusting to Life in the U.S.
Quite a few foreign scholars who have lived in the U.S. say the American way of life is stressful in and of itself, and this is somewhat reflected in the way the immigration system operates. This is a major reason many foreigners retain immigration law firms to handle their affairs. Navigating the system can be confusing and overwhelming, which in turn worsens immigration stress. It’s always better for immigrants to avoid having to deal with the frustration of filing documents, attending interviews, and responding to requests for information, not to mention living with the need to stay updated on changes to immigration policies and procedures.
All immigrants will probably experience some level of mental stress as they get used to their new American lives. This can almost be guaranteed, but it’s up to foreigners to seek out the resources that can alleviate that stress. Making friends, attending language classes, retaining a San Diego immigration lawyer, and identifying the positive aspects of the migrant experience can go a long way in dealing with immigration stress.
Hiring a highly qualified immigration attorney is one of the best ways to make the immigration process less complicated and stressful. If you need reliable, high-quality legal advice about San Diego immigration issues, reach out to the immigration law experts at KS Visa Law. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 858-874-0711.