Counseling Asian Immigrants
According to U.S. Census Bureau, the term Asian refers to those having origins of the native people of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and Indian subcontinent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004b). Pacific Islander is another common term which refers to those having origins of Hawaii, Samoa, Guam, or other Pacific Islands. In the U.S, Asian American a more acceptable term, which is represented by more than 43 different ethnic groups of people originated from different geographic areas.
The Chinese immigrants were among the first Asians who came to the U.S. in the 1850s, followed by Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos. Asian immigrants build the transcontinental railroad, work in the gold mines, and in the sugar plantations. Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians came in the late 1970s, after the Vietnam War (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001).
Discrimination and Racism
Throughout history, Asian Americans have been exposed to discrimination and racism. According to Sue and Sue (2013), most adult Americans, based on survey about Chinese Americans, believe that Chinese Americans would be more loyal to China than to the United States; half of the people surveyed believe that Chinese Americans would pass secret information to China, 25% of the sample would disapprove someone in their family to marry an Asian American, and 17% would be distress if Asian Americans moved into their neighborhood. On July17, 2009, California legislature approved a bill, to apologize to the state’s Chinese American community for racist laws enacted as far back as 1849 (Liu, 2009). Nevertheless, Asian immigrants are still struggling with racism and discrimination issues.
The image of Asian Americans is that of a highly successful minority that has “made it” in society. Many describe Asian American population as intelligent, disciplined hardworking. In reality, the prevalence of poverty among Asian Americans is higher than other minority populations. There is widespread recognition that Asian American communities represent areas with prevalent unemployment, poverty, and health problems (Sue& Sue, 2013).
The Asian immigrants’ experiences of coming to the United States can be different. The factors that affect their migration may range from seeking more freedom, economic and educational opportunities in the United States, to dealing with other, often horrific events, such as loss of all close family members in their attempts to escape oppressive regimes. Regardless of their migration experiences, all immigrants must adapt to new beliefs, behaviors and lifestyles that are often in sharp contrast with their familiar cultural beliefs and behaviors (MohdZain, 2011). This adaptation process is often forces the immigrants to cope with a set of different values and norms, such as child rearing, family structure, gender roles, and religious practices.