Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Mark Costanzo

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2023 Oscar J Gonzalez


Immigration to the United States, particularly from Mexico, has resulted in a significant population of undocumented individuals residing in the nation. Among them are those who arrived in the U.S. as children, with some eligible for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, offering temporary relief from deportation and government benefits. This thesis analyzes the historical context of immigration and the DACA program, focusing on the often-overlooked experiences and mental health realities encountered by Mexican DACA recipients. These experiences encompass the pursuit of the American Dream, deportation fears, family separation, challenges in accessing government services, navigating the role of a first-generation student, cultural stigma, and encountering prejudiced social dynamics. The primary findings reveal that Mexican DACA recipients contend with numerous mental health struggles, including heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations, stemming from the complexities of their legal status and its impact on their daily lives, and that of their families. To address this mental health crisis, this thesis proposes policy recommendations and outlines steps for future research.