Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2022

Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Schatteman, Alicia

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also known as DACA was first implemented in 2012 after many failed attempts to legalize the millions of undocumented people in this country. DACA was an executive order of former President Obama. This program provides temporary relief from deportation and a work permit that allows those under this program to legally work in the United States. DACA has allow many undocumented people who arrived to this country at a young age in the hopes of leading a somewhat normal life. Some of those who are protected by this program have gone to college, built their own businesses, and became first time homeowners. Higher education in this country is extremely expensive. While citizens generally have access to financial aid, people that fall under DACA do not have the opportunity to access any kind of federal aid or grants towards college due to their legal status. Many rely on private scholarships and on their own income. Higher education can be extremely stressful to navigate especially when you are the first one in your family to ever attend an institution of higher education. To what extent is mental health affected by being undocumented? Anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and social pressures are some of the mental health problems that were prevalent among the participants. The primary mental health problem that was present was anxiety and stress related to the financial burdens and uncertainty stemming from their own legal status. For this study I interviewed undocumented/DACA students at Northern Illinois University. Due to the pandemic and to allow more flexibility interviews were completed online.