Implications of Undocumented Status for Latinx Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call to Action

Luz M. Garcini, Alejandro L. Vázquez, Cristina Abraham, Ciciya Abraham, Vyas Sarabu, Pamela Lizette Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have been reported among Latinxs in the U.S. Among those most affected by the pandemic are marginalized families, including those that are undocumented and mixed-status, in which some, but not all members are undocumented. Undocumented and mixed-status families face multiple and chronic daily stressors that compromised their health and wellbeing. Salient stressors faced by undocumented Latinx families include poverty, social disadvantage, discrimination, dangerous living and working conditions, and limited access to healthcare. These stressors are frequently compounded with trauma, fear of detention, deportation, and family separation. Purpose: Informed by the literature and insights from our community-based work to address the health needs of undocumented and mixed status Latinx families during the pandemic, this paper uses a social determinants of health lens to present a narrative summary that highlights four primary psychosocial stressors faced by these families and their implications for mental health. Discussion: These include stressors pertaining to (a) anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions; (b) family stressors and disruptions in family dynamics; (c) economic changes and financial losses; and (c) limited access to healthcare. Implications of the aforesaid stressors on the mental health of undocumented families and youth are also discussed. In addition, recommendations are provided for the provision of mental health services, best practices, and resources from a strengths-based approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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