In doing ethics trainings I am often asked to talk about legal liability issues. This provides an opportunity to talk about ethics versus law...that these are overlapping but not synonymous terms. Certain things may be legal but not ethical, and one of the things a leader must do is struggle with this issue, having the moral courage to speak the truth and act on it.
One area where social workers struggle with this tension between legal and ethical is around immigration. Our social work leadership through NASW has put together a toolkit to help social workers who wrestle with this area.
As a result of the NASW President’s Initiative on Diversity, the purpose of the Immigration Toolkit is to provide NASW chapters, members, and other entities with policy information and tools to promote the competency of social workers in the immigration field, to fight discrimination against immigrants, and to take social and political action in support of the rights of immigrants. To view the Toolkit, go to: http://www.socialworkers.org/diversity/ImmigrationToolkit.pdf