July 11, 2014

Psychologists Available to Discuss Immigration

As U.S. border crisis continues, experts can offer insight on mental health implications


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has so far in 2014 apprehended over 52,000 unaccompanied children arriving in the United States from Latin American countries, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Experts estimate the number could reach 90,000 before year’s end. Psychologists and other mental health professionals play an important role in shaping a humane and constructive U.S. response to the crisis. The following American Psychological Association members are available for interviews:   


Dina Birman, PhD
Coral Gables, Florida 
Phone: (305) 284-3460

An associate professor of educational psychological studies at The University of Miami, Birman’s focuses her research on the acculturation and adjustment of refugees and immigrants as they resettle in a new country. She was a member of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration.

Carola Suarez-Orozco, PhD
Los Angeles
Phone: (310) 206-0647

As co-director of the Institute for Immigration, Globalization and Education at the University of California, Los Angeles, Suarez-Orozco specializes in the life experiences of immigrant youth and families. She was awarded an APA Presidential Citation in 2006 for her research and contribution to understanding immigrant youth and families and was chair of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration. 

Michael Zarate, PhD
El Paso, Texas 
Phone: (915) 747-6569

A professor of psychology at The University of Texas at El Paso, Zarate focuses his research on how the need for uniqueness and fear of change can influence prejudice concerning immigrants. He studies how basic psychological concepts influence ethnic prejudice and attitudes toward immigrants. Zarate was a member of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration.  


The 2011 APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration developed an evidence-based report (PDF, 1.35MB) addressing the psychological factors related to immigration. The report provides an understanding of the psychological process of immigration and emphasizes the unique attributes and contributions of immigrant populations. 

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.