Professor Pushes Students to Reach out to Immigrants

Aaron Snyder, Kentucky Kernel (University of Kentucky, Lexington), March 8, 2006

As the Latino population in the United States continues to grow, a University of Kentucky social work associate professor said yesterday that he hopes to see more students pursue Spanish in order to help immigrants in social programs.

Richard Sutphen said he is working on specialized programs at UK and hopes the university will offer these programs across the state.

The lecture and panel discussion, which included five immigrants, was part of a week-long series hosted by the College of Social Work.

The lecture, “The U. S. Border and Immigration,” featured Daisy L. Machado, dean of Lexington Theological Immigration Experiences, along with a panel of discussants, who shared their stories about crossing the border into the United States.

Aureliano Angulo along with his wife, shared his story of coming into the United States.

At 16 years old, Angulo could not get a job when he first crossed into the United States because of his age, so he slept in an abandoned house with no roof.

The most recent time he crossed, he was treated as a criminal and had to spend almost a month in jail. When Angulo was released from jail, he and his wife were transported in the trunk of a car to California.

He got a job working in the fields California and later in Oregon. He now works on the horse farms in Lexington.

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Sutphen expressed concern about getting social work students prepared to work with Latinos.

Kentucky was ranked eighth in the country in terms of Latino migration while many other southeastern states also rank highly.

“One out of every three or four (human services) clients will be Latino in the upcoming years,” said Sutphen, adding that the Latino population is on pace to be 25 percent of the U. S. population by 2045.

Sutphen has worked with the College of Social Work to develop a certificate program where social work students who participate would take a two-course sequence during the summer in Mexico and complete two semester-long practices with Latino populations somewhere in the United States.

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