Published: June 21, 2017
Pacific Oaks College and Fuller Theological Seminary recently co-hosted an “Immigration Rights & Mental Health Care” forum for the greater Pasadena community.
Taking place on June 19, 2017 at Pacific Oaks College, the event created much needed space for attendees to learn about immigration rights under the U.S. Constitution and mental health care for families experiencing the impact of immigration enforcement and anti-immigrant sentiment.
U.S. Representative Judy Chu (Dem., CA-27) began the evening with opening remarks, highlighting the importance of immigration reform and legislation, as well as health care needs for immigrant families. The forum went on to feature expert panelists from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and faculty from Pacific Oaks and Fuller.
CHIRLA’s Miriam Mesa, Director of Community Education, discussed legal rights under the U.S. Constitution, and provided specific and practical solutions for undocumented individuals who encounter immigration enforcement. Fuller’s Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores, Ph.D., spoke on trauma and psychological stress in Latino citizen children following parental detention and deportation. She also suggested new immigration enforcement practices that take into account the best interest of Latino children. Lastly, as an expert on immigrant identity development, Pacific Oaks’ Dr. Rebecca Rojas, Ph.D., highlighted the immigrant experience from a global perspective.
The audience was comprised of agency leaders and staff from the Pasadena and Los Angeles areas who work with the undocumented community. Attendees commented on the need for immigration reform 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 have access to legal resources and effective mental health care.
Dr. Rojas-Flores provided an apt summation for the necessity of immigration forums like this one: “Be bold for the sake of our children.”
To learn more about Pacific Oaks’ Marital and Family Therapy programs, visit here.