DACA applications and anxiety among undocumented youths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: While the literature has focused on the benefits granted by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to undocumented youths in the USA, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the challenges encountered during the application process. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on 60 semi-structured interviews with Latino undocumented youths living in the New York City and northern New Jersey metropolitan area. Findings: The policy was intended to improve the inclusion of some undocumented youths in the USA by temporarily shielding them from deportation and providing them with a social security number. Analyses indicate great variation in youths’ experiences while applying for DACA, including program knowledge, financial impact, and application assistance – some of which was alleviated by respondents’ political engagement. This paper shows that participants suffered from anxiety due to the manner of implementation of the program. Research limitations/implications: This research is based on the self-disclosure of participants as undocumented youths. Fieldwork also took place in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, which is traditionally considered as more “immigrant-friendly” context than other areas of the USA. Originality/value: This paper provides much needed information on the ways in which undocumented youths navigate the federal immigration system and the anxiety associated with it. This paper demonstrates the possibility that a federal policy whose goal is inclusionary could be implemented at the local level in such a way as to promote anxiety and alienation. It also highlights the role of political engagement in shaping immigrant youth’s experiences in the USA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-331
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2018


  • Anxiety
  • DACA
  • Engagement
  • Undocumented immigration


Dive into the research topics of 'DACA applications and anxiety among undocumented youths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this