DACA, Self-Care, and Resilience in Uncertain Times

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Pasadena, CA, May 21, 2020 — PASADENA, Calif., May 21, 2020The lives, dreams, and well-being of many undocumented individuals, with and without DACA, were acutely challenged by President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) in September 2017. This decision, paired with Congress’s inability to devise a solution, has exponentially exacerbated the atmosphere of fear and deep uncertainty that already exists. In the midst of a global public health crisis, nearly 800,000 DACA recipients and their families continue to hustle, survive, and achieve great things while they fear for their safety and confront an unknown future. Their fate now rests with the US Supreme Court, which is expected to render its verdict on the DACA program any day now.

In response to this growing need for mental health resources among a large swath of individuals who comprise a crucial part of the American fabric, the Thrive Center for Human Development, a research center at Fuller’s School of Psychology, is releasing selfcare resources to support DACA and undocumented youth in this journey into the unknown. Thrive Center is founded on the vision that all persons can thrive and become responsible and fulfilled adults. DACA and undocumented youth deserve not only inclusion, but also liberation to pursue their vocations and dreams as contributing citizens.

From research and experience, Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores, associate professor of clinical psychology at Fuller, and Norma Ramirez, psychologist-in-training and plaintiff in the SCOTUS case regarding DACA, recognize that although the 1.5 undocumented generation have unique, multidimensional identities, perspectives, and challenges. They also share many of the pitfalls, challenges, and joys intrinsic to everyone. Drawing on her extensive research, Dr. Rojas-Flores with the Thrive Center and Ramirez designed these resources to foster thriving and resilience in DACA and undocumented youth. These resources were developed in order to help, encourage, inspire, and accompany DACA recipients on their journey. They include:

  • Pushing back against unhelpful thoughts
  • Caring for physical health
  • Engaging the community
  • Letting go of survivor’s guilt
  • Nurturing creativity to reduce fear and overcome obstacles
  • Seeking and maintaining healthy relationships
  • Dealing with strong and mixed emotions
  • Embracing faith and spirituality to cope with stress and disappointment
  • Moving forward with a vision for the future to help in uncertain times

The work and research of Dr. Rojas-Flores addresses the growing need for mental health resources for the undocumented community, particularly mixed-status families. She examines the psychological, educational, and affective consequences of the advent of heightened US immigration enforcement on children. Rojas-Flores, Ramirez, and the Thrive Center for Human Development strive to highlight the strengths and vulnerabilities of undocumented youth and DACA recipients and their inspiring capacity to thrive in the midst of adversity.  

Fuller unwaveringly supports DACA recipients and their families and calls on the Supreme Court to allow all of our students, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and loved ones to thrive and to follow their vocations before God as a path to becoming contributing US citizens. 

Download the DACA, self-care, and mental health resource here

The Thrive Center will host a weekly webinar on Tuesdays on Fuller’s Facebook Page to discuss further mental health resources for undocumented individuals with or without DACA

View Dr. Rojas-Flores’s research here


About Thrive Center

The Thrive Center for Human Development is a multidisciplinary research center within the School of Psychology at Fuller Seminary. The Center is based on a vision that all unique persons can thrive. Thrive is committed to empirical research and scholarship, training future leaders, and the development of resources to inspire, educate, and equip diverse persons to live with purpose and joy. The Center has a strong tradition of research in the areas of positive youth development, character virtue and strengths, moral development, and religious and spiritual development. For more information: www.thethrivecenter.org/. 

About Fuller Seminary

Fuller Seminary, the largest multidenominational seminary in the world, provides professional, graduate-level education through its schools of theology, psychology, and intercultural studies. Through its main campus in Southern California, regional campuses, and online programs, Fuller serves more than 2,500 students from 80 countries and 110 denominations, offering five programs fully in the Korean language and three in Spanish. The seminary’s more than 43,000 living alumni from over 130 countries, the largest alumni base of any seminary, serve throughout the world as ministers, nonprofit organization and corporate leaders, therapists, counselors, teachers, and in many other vocations of service and leadership. For more information: www.Fuller.edu.

Britt Vaughan  Fuller Seminary  626-584-5371  [email protected]