“Immigration Rights and Mental Health Care,” was the theme of an event cohosted for the Pasadena community by Fuller Seminary and Pacific Oaks College the evening of Monday, June 19 at Pacific Oaks College. The forum created much needed space to discuss one’s rights under the U.S. Constitution and mental health care for families experiencing the impact of immigration enforcement and anti-immigrant sentiments.
U.S. Representative Judy Chu offered opening remarks where she lamented the current state of legislation concerning immigration, touching on legislative proposals being discussed to address the health care needs of immigrants. The forum then featured expert panelists from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Fuller faculty, and Pacific Oaks faculty, with questions from the community following presentations from the panelists.
CHIRLA’s Miriam Mesa, director of community education, spoke on immigration status, citizenship, work permits, legal representation, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Fuller’s Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores discussed trauma and psychological stress in Latino citizen children following parental detention and deportation—an area of research she recently concluded with other Fuller faculty and the Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. She also suggested new immigration enforcement practices that take into consideration the best interests of Latino children. The panel also included Dr. Rebecca Rojas, a founding member of the Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) Latino/a Family Studies program at Pacific Oaks and an expert on acculturation and identity development among immigrant families.
The audience was comprised of agency leaders throughout the Pasadena area who work directly with the undocumented community, with several individuals commenting on the importance of immigration forums in this increasingly tenuous national environment. Many questions directed to the panelists centered on how this information could be shared with their community so more families had access to better legal resources and more effective mental health care.
Dr. Rojas-Flores provided an apt summation for the necessity of immigration forums like this one in concluding her presentation with: “Be bold for the sake of our children.”
For more information on Dr. Rojas-Flores’s research, visit here.
To study with Dr. Rojas-Flores, visit here.
For more information on our Marital and Family Therapy program, visit here.
About Pacific Oaks College
Grounded in its social justice heritage, Pacific Oaks College prepares students to be culturally intelligent agents of change serving diverse communities in the fields of human development, education, and related family studies.
Informed by Quaker principles, Pacific Oaks Children’s School was built to bring an inclusive approach to early childhood education—teaching children to respect and embrace the differences that make others unique. Pacific Oaks College has expanded on this progressive approach to inform its approach to the fields of Early Childhood Education, Human Development, Cultural and Family Psychology, and Organizational Leadership. Guided by four core values—respect, diversity, social justice, and inclusion—Pacific Oaks College has helped graduates change the world. For more information: www.pacificoaks.edu