News
Undocumented Anxiety: USF Student Counsels Those Who Live in Fear

University of San Francisco psychology doctoral student Liliana Campos Ramales won’t graduate for another two years, but she already knows the types of patients she wants to work with as a psychologist – undocumented residents who face constant fear of being discovered and deported.

This fear can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, and depression, says Ramales, a clinical psychology doctoral student. Moreover, undocumented residents may undergo unnecessary suffering to avoid being discovered. For example, an undocumented worker injured in the workplace may not report it to their employer or go to the hospital, out of fear they’ll be exposed. That could lead to lasting physical — and potentially mental — consequences.

“Families endure a lot of pain,” says Ramales.

For her dissertation, Ramales plans to talk to undocumented USF students about their fears of deportation and their experiences living in constant uncertainty. She hopes her findings will allow universities more broadly to better understand the needs of the population and to offer more tailored services.

“Just allowing undocumented young people to tell their stories in a safe space can help them heal,” she says. Which is why, outside of her research, Ramales partners with the university’s Task Force to Support Undocumented Students to help students build solidarity, find support, and learn coping strategies to deal with discrimination and the fear of deportation.

Ramales was undocumented when she began applying to doctoral programs, so was ineligible for most financial aid. She found support at USF. The School of Nursing and Health Professions worked with Ramales one-on-one to secure a scholarship – the Dean Karshmer Academic Merit Fund, for students who maintain a 3.9 GPA.

The scholarship covers Ramales’ first two years of school. It’s the first time she’s attended school without also having to work multiple jobs to pay the bills. And last semester, through an immigration attorney, Ramales secured a visa making her a legal U.S. resident.

She’s enjoyed her clinical student rotations at psychiatric units of local hospitals and at nonprofits, where she often has the opportunity to work with undocumented patients, providing therapy and medical assessments. Each week she travels with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s SALUDos mobile clinic to migrant camps in Gilroy, Calif., to provide psychological services to migrant farmworkers.

And she’s found a mentor in School of Education Professor Genevieve Negron-Gonzalez — who co-founded the Task Force to Support Undocumented Students and whose own academic work focuses largely on the undocumented community.

“To be able to just study and work on issues that are important to me has empowered me as a person, a professional, and a student,” Ramales says. “I really can’t imagine myself at another institution.”

(From: University of San Francisco)





Recent News

July 22, 2020 — Pope Francis declared Fr. Eusebio Kino, SJ, venerable on July 10.

July 14, 2020 — After four ordinations went off without a hitch last week, Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits West Province, had reason to be hopeful.

June 30, 2020 — Fr. Frank Buckley, SJ, clinical director of the Center at Blessed Sacrament, the Jesuit parish in Hollywood, shares how the parish has responded to the pandemic.

June 25, 2020 — Fr. Chris Corbally, SJ, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory in Arizona, now has an asteroid named for him.

June 24, 2020 — Dr. Fauci explains how his Jesuit education helped prepare him for his work in public health.

June 23, 2020 — Jack Krouse, SJ, of Jesuits West, was ordained to the diaconate at Saint Ignatius Church in Paris on June 20.

June 18, 2020 — Following today’s Supreme Court decision that maintained the DACA program, Jesuits West Provincial Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, said he was overjoyed by the ruling.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2020

Jesuits West Magazine - Fall 2019

Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2019


Companions
Fall, 2019

Companions
Summer, 2019

Companions
Fall, 2018


Loyola Institute for Spirituality
Loyola Institute for Spirituality (LIS), founded in 1997, is located in Orange, CA. LIS provides many programs and services for individuals, parishes, and dioceses throughout Southern California and beyond.