There are nearly five million immigrants in Texas and almost 300,000 in Austin, Texas. Of these, about two-thirds hold a legal status that places them at risk of deportation. While most of this population identifies as Hispanic, the immigrant people in Austin and Texas are diverse, including families from countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Research has shown that the prevalence of mental health diagnoses, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD, for populations seeking immigration relief can be as high as 80%. Without legal status, immigrants often navigate our communities with undocumented or temporary status. This limits their access to mental health services, social services, employment, and housing.

The Girasol project at the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing (TXICFW) aims to empower immigrants in Texas facing mental health challenges. With the support of the City of Austin Equity Mini-Grant, TXICFW will continue their initiative to support the immigration cases of low-income clients represented by lawyers from nonprofit organizations and pro/low-bono attorneys. With a focus on those at risk of deportation, Girasol’s approach includes critical mental health evaluations to support immigration cases. The project plans to conduct training workshops for mental health professionals, expand their network of evaluators, and provide coordinated assessments to strengthen legal support for families and children in the immigration legal process.