Immigration Status and Psychological Well-Being: Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
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Immigration Status and Psychological Well-Being: Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

Immigrant legal status is a central axis of stratification in contemporary U.S. society and is linked to a range of inequities for youth. The poverty rate of children with undocumented parents is twice the rate of children of U.S.-born parents and undocumented youth are much more likely to report clinical levels of depression and anxiety than their documented peers.Yet although we know immigrant legal status is linked to inequality, we know far less about potential solutions to this problem. One straightforward remedy is the regularization of immigration status. In June 2012, the Obama Administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, granting a subset of undocumented youth temporary relief from deportation, access to work authorization, and other related benefits. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced plans to eliminate the program, a highly contested decision culminating in a November 2019 Supreme Court hearing. In this presentation, Dr. Patler addresses a series of interrelated questions about DACA’s tenure and potential termination in influencing the wellbeing of undocumented young people: How has DACA influenced psychological wellbeing among immigrant youth during the program’s tenure? Have DACA’s impacts changed or unfolded over time, in response to changing political contexts? And finally, how has DACA affected the family members of DACA-eligible people?

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