Immigration Policy, Practices, and Procedures: The Impact on the Mental Health of Mexican and Central American Youth and Families

Posted: 28 Oct 2019

See all articles by Katherine Kaufka Walts

Katherine Kaufka Walts

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Catherine Santiago

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Stephanie Torres

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 1, 2018

Abstract

Currently, 15 million Mexican and Central American individuals live in the United States, with this number projected to rise in the next few decades (Lesser & Batalova, 2017; Zong & Batalova, 2017). Research has begun to investigate the impact of the nation’s immigration practices and policies on immigrant Latino/a families and youth. Current immigration policies can create vulnerabilities, including fear and mistrust, discrimination, limited access to services, parent–child separation, and poverty. These experiences increase risk for poor mental health outcomes and may exacerbate prior exposure to traumas in the home country (e.g., violence) and during migration (e.g., extortion). This paper reviews current immigration policies for arriving Mexican and Central American immigrants and links to mental health among documented and undocumented immigrant families and youth. A discussion of positive policies and resources that may mitigate the damaging impact of immigration-related stress is included. Finally, social justice implications for clinicians and researchers are discussed, with culturally sensitive interventions, advocacy, and dissemination of research and policy as primary recommendations.


Note: PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved) American Psychologist, Editor-in-Chief, Anne E. Kazak, PhD

Keywords: adolescent, immigrant, immigration policy, mental health, Latino, Central American, migration, Mexico, trauma, health

Suggested Citation

Walts, Katherine and Santiago, Catherine and Torres, Stephanie, Immigration Policy, Practices, and Procedures: The Impact on the Mental Health of Mexican and Central American Youth and Families (October 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3471546

Katherine Walts (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson St.
25 E. Pearson
IL 60611

HOME PAGE: http://www.luc.edu/chrc

Catherine Santiago

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Stephanie Torres

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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