Transcultural Concepts in Nursing Care


Chapter 11 Culture, Family, and Community

community health providers to understand the makeup of community members in order to pro vide services. The term “immigrant” is a broad designation and refers to an individual who leaves their coun try of origin or residence to relocate to another country. There are many subcategories of immi grants including refugees, asylees , and those with temporary protected status. The various types of immigrants are divided into those that have documentation, as a legal entrant, or those that are undocumented as an illegal entrant. Immigrants are persons who voluntarily enter another country with the intention to stay. Immigrants come of their own choice, and most hope to eventually become citizens of their new host country. Persons who enter another coun try without the proper documentation are often referred to as “undocumented” migrants, “illegal immigrants,” or “illegal aliens.” The terms illegal and alien should be avoided in nursing discourse and the professional literature to show respect for the undocumented immigrant as a human being (McGuire, 2014). Currently, immigration of undoc umented individuals, or those who do not have the appropriate documentation to immigrate, can be a contentious issue. Many of the key issues in the debate about immigration policies in the United States are based on economic and political factors (Ayón, 2018).

Under international law, refugee is a special type of documented immigrant who is outside of their country of nationality or habitual residence and who has a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to their own country. By definition, refugees are persons escaping persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or political stance (UNHCR, 2010). Most countries allow a certain number of refugees for resettlement each year. Another classification of immigrant is an asylee. These are persons who come to a par ticular country seeking political asylum from some sort of persecution in their home country. These various types of classification—immigrant, undocumented immigrant, refugee, and asylee— often determine the rights allotted to individuals. The legal designation will determine eligibil ity for work permits, residency status, and the entitlement to social and health services. In addi tion, those who are undocumented, or without appropriate residency status, may face arrest and deportation to their country of origin. Table 11-1 lists some of the more common terms for indi viduals residing in a country who are not citizens. Studies have suggested that there is a need for research about refugees who are distinct from other categories of immigrants (Betancourt et al., 2017; Golub et al., 2018). The circumstances that lead to forced migration of refugees are very different from those that influence a voluntary

Table 11-1 Terms Used for Individuals Residing in a Country Who Are Not Citizens




A person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence A person who is escaping persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or political persuasion



A person departing from a country to settle elsewhere A person forced to emigrate for political reasons

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Émigré Asylee

A person seeking political asylum from persecution in their home country A person who moves to another country with the intention of staying there for only a limited time, usually for occupational reasons A person without the required documents that provide evidence of status or qualification, such as nationality or specified length of time a person may legally reside within a country

Temporary stay migrant


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