Experts can offer insights into psychological effects


For reporters covering the Justice Department’s recent decision to separate immigrant children from their parents, these psychologists are available to discuss psychological issues associated with immigration, including discrimination, trauma and commonly held myths about immigrants – both legal and illegal. The American Psychological Association also has useful resources on its website, including:



Kalina Brabeck, PhD
East Providence, Rhode Island
Phone: (401) 456-9602

Expertise: Brabeck is a psychologist who specializes in discrimination, immigration and trauma. She is an associate professor of mental health counseling at Rhode Island College, Brabeck’s research focuses on the effects that poverty, discrimination and legal status have on Latino immigrant families. She speaks English and Spanish and works as part of the Latino Mental Health Program team at Lifespan Physician Group, where she provides psychotherapy to Spanish-speaking patients. She also conducts psychological evaluations for immigration courts.

Manuel Paris Jr., PsyD
New Haven, Connecticut
Phone: (203) 974-5819

Expertise: An associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and deputy director of Hispanic Services for the Connecticut Mental Health Center, Paris also serves as director of training for the Latino Track of the Yale Psychology Pre- and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program at the Hispanic Clinic. He has co-authored numerous articles on Latina/o behavioral health issues and also teaches and lectures extensively on these topics. He serves as senior advisor on public policy to the National Latinx Psychological Association, and is a board member of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.

Antonio E. Puente, PhD
Wilmington, North Carolina
Cell Phone: (910) 233-9855

Expertise: A professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Puente also maintains a private clinical practice. He is the founder and co-director of a bilingual mental health clinic for the poor and uninsured. A past president of the American Psychological Association, Puente has commented extensively on the plight and psychology of Hispanic immigrants, including Dreamers and immigrant children. He is an immigrant himself, having migrated from Cuba as a child. 

Melba Vasquez, PhD Austin, Texas
Phone: (512) 329-8000 x5

Expertise: As 2011 president of the American Psychological Association, Vasquez established a task force on immigration that wrote the report ”Crossroads: The Psychology of Immigration in the New Century,” which addressed the psychological factors related to the experience of immigration and helped dispel commonly held myths about immigrants. An independent practitioner, she has also spoken out on the harmful psychological impact of separating immigrant families




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 115,700 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.

If you do not want to receive APA news releases, please let us know at or 202-336-5700.