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Sac State launches webinar series to support undocumented students

The webinars are designed to help professionals understand the stresses undocumented students face.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California State University, Sacramento professor is hoping to help her colleagues and other professionals around the country better support Dreamers and other young people with mixed-status.

The new webinar, titled “Addressing the Undocumented Stress Cycle,” will help target undocumented youth stresses.

With the help of Sacramento State’s Dreamers Resource Center, Basia Ellis, associate professor of Education, will launch the series of webinars beginning the last weekend of March. The webinars are designed to help professionals who work with young people affected by undocumented status understand the stresses these groups face and come up with strategies that provide better support for their well-being.

The webinar will be interactive, so participants have a chance to brainstorm and contribute ideas. There will also be activities set throughout the webinar along with a live Q&A session. The webinars intend to benefit individuals who are undocumented and people living in “mixed-status” families, such as a family in which the children are U.S. citizens, but their parents are not.

Ellis says everyday thousands of undocumented immigrant students at campuses across the country struggle with anxieties about their own safety and that of their loved ones, but “it’s time to get them the help they need,” she added.

According to Ellis, more than 800 undocumented students at Sac State fight the uncertainties about their future opportunities in the country.

“A central struggle for young people who are dealing with undocumented status is coming out around their status, it involves disclosing who they are with other people,” she explained.

Other struggles include, dealing with status-related barriers such as the lack of financial aid, limited work opportunities or the stigma associated with being undocumented, she said.

The lack of support for undocumented and “mixed-status” youth is what motivated Ellis to collaborate with Sac State’s Dreamer Resource Center to launch the project.

“There is so much interest in the mental health of young people impacted by undocumented status and yet few supports and comprehensive ways of addressing their issues,” she said.

The overall goal of the webinar, Ellis said, is to begin a community and, potentially, nationwide conversation about the current immigration debate. Especially about the most well-known aspects of the debate, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protection from deportation for young people brought to the United States illegally as children.

The first webinar is on Friday, March 29 at 10 a.m., and they will take place weekly through April 26. They are free and open to anyone interested to join the conversation. So far, more than 500 people, living as far as the east coast, have registered.

Click here if you’re interested in participating. More information about the Dreamer Resource Webinar Series is available here.

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