In Uncertain Times, DACA Recipients Are Experiencing Physical And Emotional Stress

Researchers are exploring the causes and symptoms of stress among DACA recipients and others who are eligible for the program.

By Laura Rice & Alexandra HartFebruary 27, 2018 2:04 pm| ,

The Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it will not hear an appeal from the Trump administration on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, means the program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children remains in place, for now. And the March 5 deadline we’ve been talking about for months is moot.

But despite the temporary reprieve, DACA recipients under threat of deportation – the  so-called Dreamers, are still on alert, as political leaders and lower courts continue to make decisions about their future.

Rice University Postdoctoral Fellow Luz Garcini has been studying DACA recipients and others who are eligible for the program. She says these young people are dealing with a lot of uncertainty and stress.

“We’re actually studying it from different perspectives,” Garcini says. “We’re conducting currently a national online survey for DACA recipients and anyone who knows someone with DACA so we can have a control group that we can compare in terms of how they’re doing in mental health and coping behavior,” Garcini says.

Garcini is also collaborating with Texas Medical Center to learn about the physical manifestations of stress in the study group.

“When they become older, they become risks for diseases is going to increase,” Garcini says.

One challenge DACA recipients may face when trying to get help for stress-related issues is the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment in the Latino community. Another challenge is access to treatment.

Written by Angela Bonilla.