A profile of recent immigrant men from Latin America

Recent political and economic events have driven thousands of refugees from their home countries, in particular, war-stricken El Salvador and Guatemala. In response to the growing population of recent immigrants, a profile of their needs and salient characteristics is important in order to provide much needed services. Los Angeles County has the highest concentration of hispanics in the nation, with 2.1 million Mexicans, 350,000 Salvadorans and 100,000 Guatemalans. In the United States, an estimated 2.06 million are of undocumented status. Approximately one-half of this number reside in California. This study was conducted in the city of Van Nuys in Los Angeles County. The study encompassed the latter part of February 1986 through the end of August 1986. Participants in this study were limited to Latin American males who gathered at three local labor pick-up sites in Van Nuys. These men participated in a church-sponsored work referral program. A total of 650 information data sheets was collected from day laborers. From the 650 data sheets, 100 were randomly selected, and in addition, 40 subjects were given a questionnaire to determine presence of stress-related symptoms. The information data sheet consisted of questions designed to determine personal statistics, education and skills and emotional state. As a result of this study it can be concluded that these immigrants are not only in desperate need of food, shelter and employment, but are also in great need of psychological counseling, emotional support, and spiritual affirmation due to the traumatic experience of immigrating under these conditions.