Coming of Age on the Margins: Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Latino Immigrant Young Adults Eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
- 6k Downloads
Undocumented immigrant young adults growing up in the United States face significant challenges. For those qualified, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s protections may alleviate stressors, with implications for their mental health and wellbeing (MHWB). We conducted nine focus groups with 61 DACA-eligible Latinos (ages 18–31) in California to investigate their health needs. Participants reported MHWB as their greatest health concern and viewed DACA as beneficial through increasing access to opportunities and promoting belonging and peer support. Participants found that DACA also introduced unanticipated challenges, including greater adult responsibilities and a new precarious identity. Thus, immigration policies such as DACA may influence undocumented young adults’ MHWB in expected and unexpected ways. Research into the impacts of policy changes on young immigrants’ MHWB can guide stakeholders to better address this population’s health needs. MHWB implications include the need to reduce fear of deportation and increase access to services.
KeywordsDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Undocumented Mental health Well-being Latino Immigrants Young adults Qualitative research
This research was made possible by funding from the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Rachel Siemons’ time was also supported by the UCSF Dean’s Office Medical Student Research Program, the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program Thesis Grant, and the Schoeneman Grant. Dr. Marissa Raymond-Flesch’s time was supported by the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Program from the Maternal and Child Health Department (T71MC00003) and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. Dr. Colette Auerswald’s time was supported by the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Dr. Claire Brindis’ time was supported by grants from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U45MC 00002 and U45MC 00023). We are grateful to the following people for their valuable contributions to this project: Irene Bloemraad, PhD (UC Berkeley, Department of Sociology), Ken Jacobs, BA (UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education), as well as Laurel Lucia, MPP (UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education), Nadereh Pourat, PhD, Efrain Talamantes, MD, MBA, and Max Handler, MPH, MA (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research), our interns Arlette Lozano and Kathy Latthivongskorn, our advisory board members, and our community-based organization partners. Most of all we thank the participants who shared their personal experiences with us.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
None of the authors have conflicts of interest to disclose regarding this research. The study sponsor, Blue Shield Foundation of California, had one representative on the study’s advisory board, but was not directly involved in data collection or analysis, nor required review of this manuscript.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
- 1.Krogstad JM, Passel JS. 5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S. Pew Research Center. 2015. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/24/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/.
- 2.Hill L, Hayes J. Undocumented Immigrants. Public Policy Institute of California. 2013. http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=818.
- 9.Terriquez V. Dreams delayed: barriers to degree completion among undocumented latino community college students. J Ethnic Migr Stud. 2014. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2014.968534.
- 11.Organista KC. Solving Latino psychosocial and health problems: theory, practice, and populations. Hoboken: Wiley; 2007.Google Scholar
- 17.Brindis CD, et al. Realizing the dream for californians eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): demographics and health coverage. UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. 2014. http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/realizing-the-dream-for-californians-eligible-for-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca-demographics-and-health-coverage/.
- 20.Setterson RA, Furstenburg FJ, Rumbaut R, editors. On the frontier of adulthood: theory, research, and public policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2005.Google Scholar
- 26.U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 2015. http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca.
- 27.Batalova J, et al. DACA at the two year mark: a national and state profile of youth eligible and applying for deferred action. Migration Policy Institute. 2014. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/daca-two-year-mark-national-and-state-profile-youth-eligible-and-applying-deferred-action.
- 28.Gonzales RG, Bautista-Chavez AM. Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA. American Immigration Council. 2014. http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/docs/two_years_and_counting_assessing_the_growing_power_of_daca_final.pdf.
- 30.World Health Organization. Strengthening mental health promotion. Geneva, World Health Organization (Fact sheet no. 220), 2001.Google Scholar
- 31.Perez Huber L, Malagon MC. Silenced struggles: the experiences of Latina and Latino undocumented college students in California. Nev Law J. 2007;7:841–61.Google Scholar
- 33.Bronfrenbrenner U. The ecology of human development. Cambridge: Harvard Press; 1979.Google Scholar
- 35.Strauss A, Corbin J. Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 1998.Google Scholar
- 37.Dedoose Version 5.0.11, web application for managing, analyzing, and presenting qualitative and mixed method research data. Los Angeles, CA: SocioCultural Research Consultants, LLC. 2014. www.dedoose.com.
- 42.World Health Organization. Framework and statement: consultation on the drafts of the “Health in All Policies Framework for Country Action” for the Conference Statement of 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion. 2013. http://www.healthpromotion2013.org/conference-programme/framework-and-statement.
- 43.US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security: Executive Actions on Immigration: President Obama’s Executive Actions on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), November 20, 2014. http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction.