As a DACA Recipient, My Mental Health Suffers. We All Deserve Better Care.

I came to the United States when I was 3 years old. Today, I am one of some 600,000 people living under the precarious protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. While it may not be easy to tell, DACA recipients and undocumented people suffer — usually in silence — from the personal consequences of policy dysfunction: we deal with depression and anxiety resulting from decades of uncertainty, terror, and rejection. I know personally that more has to be done to address the tremendous toll that DACA takes on the mental health of young people.

I was born in Zacapoaxtla, Puebla, Mexico, a beautiful city known for its architecture, food, and pottery. But before I could even start elementary school, my parents decided to move our family to the United States. The trip was dangerous, as it is for anyone who comes to the US without a visa. For a week, my 6-year-old cousin and I were separated from our parents. We were just children — alone and scared.

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