By Delaying Citizenship for Millions of Immigrants, Biden And Democrats Are Creating A Mental Health Crisis, New Report Finds

Mariana O Press Releases

Inaction on citizenship impacts the mental wellness of immigrants who have to live in threat of detention and deportation.

For Immediate Release
Contact: José Alonso Muñoz | jose@unitedwedream.org | 202.810.0746

Washington, D.C. – Today, in collaboration with the Latinx Immigrant Health Alliance (LIHA), United We Dream launched a new mental health report surveying over 600 undocumented youth and adults over the span of 10 months to best understand how our community’s health and wellbeing were not only impacted by the COVID-19, but the continued attacks from the Trump administration, the constant threat of detention and deportation, and a lack of action by the Biden administration. 

Overall, participants reported clinical levels of depression, anxiety and global severity, which was exacerbated by their undocumented status and the looming threat of detention and deportation. Some additional findings from the report include:

  • Over 52 percent of respondents were in the clinical range for depression. Roughly 50 percent were in the clinical range anxiety.
  • Undocumented people, including those with DACA, reported significantly higher distress related to immigration status than those with permanent residency or U.S citizenship.
  • Nearly 30% of respondents reported that a loved one has been deported or is currently facing deportation proceedings.
  • Over 62 percent of respondents reported that their emotional health and wellbeing had been personally affected by COVID.

Bruna Sollod, Communications Director of United We Dream, said:

It is abundantly clear through the findings of the report and our lived experiences that undocumented communities experience distress as a result of attacks by the Trump administration, Republican politicians, and now delayed relief from the Biden administration. With the uncertainty surrounding DACA, detention levels spiking 70 percent and over one million people who have been deported and expelled since President Biden took office, undocumented communities remain vulnerable to the grips of ICE and CBP, and every day, their mental health suffers as a result.

Despite clinical levels of depression and anxiety recorded in this report, many undocumented people are denied access of life-saving health insurance and mental heatlh care because of their immigration status. Yet, through all of this, immigrant youth and their families continue to unapologetically take action to demand Biden and Democrats in Congress deliver for our communities, because we’ve always been clear about what’s at stake. 

This report must be wake up call to all members of Congress that their undocumented constituents need and deserve permanent relief, stability and protection now. Democrats in Congress must deliver citizenship for millions this year and ensure that immigration status is never a barrier to accessing health care.”

Jenifer Garcia, UndocuHealth National Coordinator of United We Dream, said:

Brave and resilient immigrant youth of United We Dream who took the survey and opened up about challenges they face in their lives helped make the UndocuHealth report possible. The reality is that because of deliberate decisions by politicians and an oppressive immigration system built to detain and deport, millions of undocumented people and families live under high levels of stress, depression and anxiety. However, we’ve always been our own protectors, and through UWD’s UndocuHealth Program we seek to decolonize our minds, destress, and empower immigrants. Unfortunately, prioritizing mental health in immigrant communities and communities of color is often still stigmatized. Initiatives like the UndocuHealth program help break down that stigma by providing needed resources, and space to heal and take care of each other.” 

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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.