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Jodi Berger Cardoso is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work. She has more than 15 years of clinical experience working with immigrant populations. Dr. Cardoso’s research examines how exposure to trauma and psychosocial stress before, during, and post-migration affects the mental health of Latino immigrants and their children. She has been funded to examine the unique stressors associated parenting in the context of deportation risk; trauma, coping strategies, and substance use among unaccompanied migrant youth; and the influence of immigration enforcement on mental-health and academic outcomes of Latino youth.
Dr. Cardoso works with several humanitarian organizations that focus on providing legal and mental-health services to immigrants, unaccompanied minor youth, and refugees who have experienced trauma. She has served as an expert witness in asylum and child trauma cases. Prior to obtaining a degree in social work, Dr. Cardoso was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador (1999–2002).
This study explores the relationship between immigration enforcement and the mental health of Latino high school students, finding that majorities surveyed in both high- and low-enforcement environments reported fear that someone close to them could be deported, with resulting symptoms of conditions such as depression and PTSD. The report provides examples of how schools are responding to support the mental health and engagement of these students.