We have long known that living in conditions of prolonged stress can affect health. Research has revealed that chronic stress can have serious negative effects on both physical and mental health and can lead to problems like anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and high blood pressure. For undocumented child immigrants living in the USA, the daily stress they experience by virtue of their immigration status can have serious negative consequences for their mental health. A new study conducted by researchers at Rice University explored the psychological risks faced by immigrant youth who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
Having worked with immigrant children and adults throughout my carrier, I have seen first hand how mental health is affected by exposure to societal and institutional exclusion, and by the constant fear of being separated from their loved ones and the life they know in the USA. I was recently asked to speak about my experience working with child immigrants by reporter Camila Bernal at Telemundo/KEYE-TV in Austin. Stay tuned for a clip from the interview.