“You should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried. No population is off the table.” — Thomas Homan, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 2017.
The current administration has made it clear that its main goal is to terrorize immigrants, whether documented or undocumented. The numerous policies and actions taken in the last two years support this goal: whether by arresting 171% more non-criminal undocumented immigrants in 2017 than in 2016, implementing a Muslim Ban where 77% of those flagged for secondary inspection were lawful permanent residents, rescinding TPS for El Salvador and Haiti, starting an effort to comb through old naturalization applications for fraud, and even by questioning the citizenship of people who have lived for decades as native-born US citizens.
All of these actions have had an unprecedented effect: heightened levels of depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma for the different immigrant communities affected. These are communities that oftentimes struggle to access health services in general, but mental health services in particular. How do we fight the policies enacted by the current administration, while maintaining our mental health? How do we fight the stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental illness within our own communities? How do we establish trauma-informed systems of care? This panel will explore the actions that the administration has taken, the effects that are felt in our communities, and share how we can fight these effects.