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Journal of Global Health Reports







The change of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has significantly impacted DACA students’ mental health in the United States. The study aimed to conduct a qualitative case study for understanding the effects of DACA program on one undocumented college student’s life during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We conducted a two-component qualitative case study, the online survey and the subsequent in-depth interview, with a DACA college student, Leah (pseudonym), in California who was in an ongoing fear of deportation before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) in the online survey to measure her level of depression and anxiety. QSR NVivo was used to analyze the verbatim transcription.


Leah’s anxiety and depression level just before the Supreme Court’s decision to the DACA termination in June 2020 was higher than during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. Leah’s concern still remained due to the uncertain legal status in the United States even after the presidential election.


During 2020-2022, the anti-immigration policy, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the presidential election has impacted a DACA student’s mental health status. However, because of the unstable legal status and fear of deportation in the United States, our participant’s anxiety and depression level maintained high. From our participant’s standpoint, more policy support is needed to sustain her legal status, financial stability, and mental health during the pandemic.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Public Health and Recreation