Background: There is limited research on the healthcare experience of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients both before and after enrollment in the program. DACA is a program designed to defer deportation to children and young adults in the United States for up to 2 years. The goal of this qualitative study is to explore the lived experiences of DACA students with regards to access to healthcare and perceptions of treatment. Method: This study is qualitative and uses a phenomenological approach. DACA Recipients (N = 5) were recruited from the UCF student population and 1:1 interviews were conducted. Interviews were transcribed and manually coded. Results: Thematic analysis revealed the following three themes (1) Meeting Needs (2) It Takes a Village and (3) Documentation­­ Over Insurance Conclusion: The fundamental structure of the findings shows the struggles of receiving healthcare as an undocumented immigrant, and the limitations of DACA as a solution. Health insurance is a more prominent and impactful factor than documentation status in the quality and quantity of healthcare access. The healthcare experience ranges from volunteer clinics to local pharmacies. Although, if DACA recipients have insurance, their healthcare experience is more consistent, regardless of documentation. Their day to day lives is composed of meeting basic needs, receiving only necessary doctor's visits as a child, and being prepared for all circumstances in terms of future citizenship.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Gonzalez, Laura


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing

Degree Program




Access Status

Open Access

Release Date