APA hosts congressional briefing on findings of APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration

On May 9, 2012, PI-GRO coordinated the participation of APA’s immediate past president, Dr. Melba Vasquez, and three members of the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration, Dr. Carola Suárez-Orozco, Dr. Dina Birman and Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra in a congressional briefing, to mark the release of the association’s report, titled Crossroads: The Psychology of Immigration in the New Century.

The group also participated in Capitol Hill visits with staff from the offices of Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) as well as the co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.).


Left to Right: Usha Tummala-Narra,PhD, Carola Suárez-Orozco, PhD, Melba Vasquez, PhD, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Dina Birman, PhD (credit: Lloyd Wolf)

(Above) The APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration met with Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) to discuss the policy implications of the new report on pyschology and immigration. Pictured, from left: Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD; Carola Suárez-Orozco, PhD; Melba Vasquez, PhD; Rep. Grace Napolitano; and Dina Birman, PhD.


Melba Vasquez, PhD, 2011 president of APA (Credit: Lloyd Wolf)Task Force member Carola Suárez-Orozco, PhD (Credit: Lloyd Wolf) 

Melba Vasquez, PhD, (above, left) appointed the immigration task force in 2011, when she was APA president. Vasquez said that she hopes that the report will challenge widespread negative views of immigrants and their children and will lead to policies more closely aligned to research on immigrant populations. 

Carola Suárez-Orozco, PhD, (above, right) chaired the task force and is co-director of Immigration Studies at NYU. She discussed the findings of the report, which identified a "remarkable pattern of strength" among immigrants, particularly in the first generation.


Task Force member Dina Birman, PhD (Credit: Lloyd Wolf)Task Force member Usha Tummala-Narra,PhD (Credit: Lloyd Wolf)

Dina Birman, PhD, (above, left) is an associate professor at the University of Illinois and a task force member. She spoke to the ethical issues of conducting research in an immigrant population. The report recommends that researchers identify cultural-specific expressions of well-being and distress, taking care to avoid applying constructs developed in a Western middle-class context.

Task force member Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD, (above, right) is an assistant professor at Boston College, where she specializes in multicultural psychology. One of the recommendations of the report is that APA continue to highlight the psychological implications of racism, discrimination and racial profiling.