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Emerging Immigration Scholars Conference

Saturday, February 16, 2019

9:15 AM - 5:30 AM
Haines 279 and 352

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February 15-16, 2019

Haines Hall 279 and 352

UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration

This conference, organized by the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration, seeks to create an interdisciplinary space for junior immigration scholars to share drafts of their research and writing projects and elicit feedback from one another as well as the community of migration scholars at UCLA.  The conference will consist of workshops, with comments by senior immigration scholars at UCLA, as well as two conference-wide panel sessions.  

Commentators include:
            Ingrid Eagly, School of Law
            Laurie Kain Hart, Department of Anthropology
            Ruben Hernandez-Leon, Department of Sociology
            Randall Kuhn, Department of Community Health Sciences
            Hiroshi Motomura, School of Law
            Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Graduate School of Education & Information Sciences
            Roger Waldinger, Department of Sociology

The conference will also feature two plenary sessions.  The first, on Friday afternoon, will focus on Hiroshi Motomura’s new book project, “The New Migration Law: A Roadmap for an Uncertain Future,” with comments by Sameer Ashar (School of Law) and Margaret Peters (Department of Political Science).

The second, on Saturday afternoon, will feature “A Conversation on Refugee Flows and Human Rights,” with Karida Brown (Department of Sociology); Anne Gilliland (Department of Information Studies); Cecilia Menjívar (Department of Sociology); and Michael Rodriguez (School of Medicine). The panel will be moderated by Chiara Galli and Estefanía Castaneda Perez, graduate students in Sociology and Political Science, respectively.

The conference is open to the public. Workshop sessions will feature brief (5 minute) presentations by authors followed by comments, seguing quickly to discussion. All papers are available via a shared box folder.  Persons interested in gaining access to the papers should write Chiara Galli,

Lunch, by reservation only, will be served on Friday and Saturday. [reservations now closed]



9.00-9:15 - Coffee, pastries available in Haines 215

Workshop sessions morning: 9:15-11:45

Refugees (1) – Haines 352

Rawan Arar, Brown University, “Leveraging Refugee Camps for State Interests: A Comparative Study of

Refugee Camps Across Jordan”

Julia Morris, New School, “The Impact of the Refugee Boom in the Republic of Nauru”

Shay Cannedy, Whittier College, “Who are the “Real” Refugees? A Bifurcated Welcome among Congolese Refugees in Ireland”

Commentator: Laurie Kain Hart, Department of Anthropology, UCLA

Chair: Lieba Faier, Department of Geography, UCLA

Incorporation (1): Haines 279

Jennifer Cook, Southern Methodist University,  “Transnational Mexicans and the family-based immigration system”

Kiyomi Colegrove, Texas State University, “Ideas about agency and learning from immigrant parents”

Adaurennaya Onyewueri, College of New Jersey, “Perceived teacher discrimination & racial identity -- Black American and African immigrant adolescents”

Commentator: Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA

Chair: Amada Armenta, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA

Lunch: 11:45: Sandwiches, refreshments available in Haines 215

Plenary session: 1-2:45

Hiroshi Motomura, UCLA School of Law, “The New Migration Law: A Roadmap for an Uncertain Future”

Commentators:  Sameer Ashar, UCLA School of Law; Margaret Peters, UCLA Department of Political Science

Coffee Break 2:45 - Coffee, pastries available in Haines 215

Workshop session afternoon: 3-5:30

Incorporation (2): Haines 352

Michael Paarlberg, Virginia Commonwealth University, “Prior socialization of immigrants”

Sara Pavan, University of British Columbia, “State & Immigrant Civil Society: Re-examining the Canada-US comparison”

Jennifer Elrick, McGill, “The Micro-Sociological Foundations of Institutional Boundary Processes: Immigration Bureaucrats, the Idea of Race, and the Racial Boundary of Nation in Post-War Canada”

Commentator: Chris Zepeda-Millan, Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA

Chair: Steven Wallace, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA

Refugees (2): Haines 279

Mao-Mei Liu, UC-Berkeley, “Social determinants of forced & unforced migrations between Africa and Europe”

Michelle Bellino, University of Michigan, “Upholding meritocracy as educational justice in exile: Youth participatory action research in Kakuma Refugee Camp”

Kelsey Norman, University of British Columbia, “International Migration Organizations, State Sovereignty, and Shifting Red Lines”

Commentator: Randall Kuhn, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA

Chair: Aliza Luft, Department of Sociology, UCLA


9.00-9:15 - Coffee, pastries available in Haines 215

Workshop sessions morning 9:15-11:45

Policy, Haines 352

Brendan Shanahan, UC Berkeley, “Who counts? Noncitizens and membership in the polity, 1865-1965”

Suzy Lee, Binghamton University, “Migrating beyond networks: A Theory of sending state intervention”

Sunmin Kim, Dartmouth University, “Blinded by the Facts: The Reworking of Whiteness in the Dillingham Commission”

Commentator: Roger Waldinger, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Chair: Victor Agadjanian, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Law: Haines 279

Laila Hlass, Tulane University, “Adultification of immigrant children

Bijal Shah, Arizona State University, “Bureaucratic Resistance in Immigration”

Regina Jeffries, University of New South Wales, “Street-level bureaucrats and implementation of non-refoulement in the United States”

Commentator: Hiroshi Motomura, School of Law, UCLA

Chair: Gail Kligman, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Lunch: 11:45 - Sandwiches, refreshments available in Haines 215

Plenary session: 1-2:45

A Conversation on Refugee Flows and Human Rights

Panelists: Karida Brown (Department of Sociology, UCLA); Anne Gilliland (Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA); Cecilia Menjívar (Department of Sociology, UCLA); Michael Rodriguez (School of Medicine, UCLA).

Moderated by: Chiara Galli (Department of Sociology, UCLA); Estefanía Castaneda Perez (Department of Political Science, UCLA)

Coffee Break 2:45 - Coffee, pastries available in Haines 215

Workshop sessions afternoon: 3-5:30

Crimmigration – Haines 352

Kristina Shull, Harvard University, “Legacies of Reagan's Cold War on Immigrants”

Maria-Elena Young, UC Merced, “Immigrant criminalization policies”

Ashley Johnson Bavery, Eastern Michigan University, “Reform, repatriation, deportation during the depression”

Commentator: Ingrid Eagly, School of Law, UCLA

Chair: Roger Waldinger, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Incorporation (3): Haines 279

Peter Catron, “The Alien Citizen”

Daniel Morales, James Madison University, “Entre Aquí y Allá: The Paths of Migration and Emigration Control in Mexico 1920-1930”

Brian Tuohy, UCLA, “Siting Replenishment: role of place in the immigrant incorporation experience”

Commentator: Rubén Hernández-León, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Chair: Jamie Goodwin-White, Department of Geography, UCLA



Thanks to support from: the International Institute; the Division of Social Science; the Departments of African-American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and History; the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies; UCLA Institute for American Cultures; the UCLA School of Law; the Promise Institute for Human Rights; and the Irene Flecknoe Ross Lecture Series in the Department of Sociology. The Irene Flecknoe Ross Lecture Series is made possible by a gift from Ray Ross in memory of his wife



Participant Bios and Abstracts

Rawan Arar


Rawan Arar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California San Diego. After completing her fellowship at Brown, Rawan will begin her appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Law, Societies, and Justice department. Rawan’s research program begins with the refugee as a central figure of analysis. Refugee displacement is the manifestation of the breakdown of borders and citizenship rights while refugee status, as a legal construct, is delimited by the principle of sovereignty. Refugees’ lives and life chances are inextricably tied to national and global policies, which create or impede access to basic needs, education, rights, and mobility. Rawan’s research lies at the intersection of these issues and pushes forward debates about states, rights, and theories of international migration.


Leveraging Refugee Camps for State Interests: A Comparative Study of
Refugee Camps Across Jordan

Refugee camps play an integral role in the management of forced displacement. I argue that refugee camps serve a political purpose for the state beyond housing large numbers of people. Heterogeneity among refugee camps allows state officials to achieve various goals including attracting international sympathy and aid dollars, developing a national humanitarian narrative, controlling refugees’ behaviors through the threat of forced encampment, screening refugees before allowing them access to the broader refugee or host community, and completely containing refugees by denying them the freedom to leave the camp. Refugee camps can also work in conjunction with urban settlement to achieve national-level development goals. These findings have emerged from 16 months of ethnographic observations in Jordan over a four-year period from July 2014 to July 2018. I also conducted 175 interviews in Arabic and English with Syrian refugees, Jordanian citizens, and government, UN, and NGO officials.


Michelle Bellino


Michelle Bellino is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and Co-Director of the Conflict and Peace Initiative. Her research centers onyouth civic development in conflict-affected contexts, examining young people’s understandings of historical injustice, civic agency, and social belonging. She is the author ofYouth in Postwar Guatemala: Education and Civic Identity in Transition (Rutgers University Press) and co-editor (with J.H.Williams) of (Re)constructing memory: Education, identity, and conflict (Sense Publishers). She has been recognized as a Peace Scholar by the United States Institute of Peace and a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Spencer Foundation. Her book,Youth in Postwar Guatemala won the Council of Anthropology and Education’s Outstanding Book Award in 2018. 


Upholding meritocracy as educational justice in exile: Youth participatory action research in Kakuma Refugee Camp

Drawing on youth participatory action research (YPAR) set in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, this paper reflects on how youth researchers employed the tools of YPAR—not to challenge systemic inequality, but to reinforce meritocratic scripts and the potential fulfillment of individual aspirations within a hierarchical system. Initially, youth designed a research inquiry that upheld narratives of education as a vehicle towards upward mobility. Following secondary school completion and confronting the gap between their aspirations and the opportunity structure, they developed critiques about how educational opportunities were distributed locally, nationally, and globally. Yet even as they began to make claims on the global community for more equitable access to educational opportunities, youth co-researchers strategically reasserted the logic of educational meritocracy, rationalizing that ranked systems benefitting a few to the exclusion of the majority were reasonable and just in contexts of scarcity. In line with the culture of personal advancement promoted in schools, they reasserted aspirations to become individual exceptions within a system of schooling that sorted, selected, and excluded the vast majority. The study illustrates the ways that globally circulating ideologies such as individualized competition, embedded in imported Western models of schooling, impeded our capacity to forge a collective identity as Kakuma youth.


Shay Cannedy


Shay Cannedy is a cultural anthropologist and Visiting Assistant Professor at Whittier College. She earned her Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University in 2016, where she also served as Fellow of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Her research interests focus on the intersections of forced migration, immigration policy, and migrant well-being, with an emphasis on the African diaspora (especially from DR Congo) in Europe and the United States. Her current project, which received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Reed Foundation, considers how Congolese asylum seekers in Ireland strategize for refugee recognition in an era of tightened borders. She has also been involved in multiple projects related to refugee resettlement in the United States. These projects have included examining health care access among Burmese refugees and interactions between social workers and their clients in a refugee resettlement agency.



Who are the “Real” Refugees?: A Bifurcated Welcome among Congolese Refugees in Ireland

Moral valuations of deservingness impact migrant reception in host societies. However, studies typically frame perceptions of migrant groups in dichotomous terms as either “deserving” or “not deserving” of welcome.  This paper offers a more nuanced analysis by comparing how Congolese asylum seekers versus resettled refugees are received in Ireland.  Findings suggest that these two groups are differently positioned in a hierarchy of complex deservingness, where resettled refugees are generally deemed “more deserving” of Irish welcome than asylum seekers based on perceptions of migration motive (by “force” or “will”) and conditions of entry (by state invitation or spontaneous arrival).  Yet, the reception of resettled refugees is not always clear-cut.  Although the state deems them as “deserving” of state resources, larger public attitudes question this valuation due to local labor and economic conditions and a hegemonic Irish national identity based on whiteness. Thus, this article reveals the complicated nature of migrant reception and how groups can be contradictorily positioned within deservingness discourses and practices, captured through the notion of a bifurcated welcome.  These deservingness assessments are shown to have deep material and subjective ramifications in the lives of migrants, including adversely impacting one’s sense of time, space, and existential security. 


Peter Catron


Peter Catron is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington. He is also affiliated with the University of Washington’s Center for the Studies in Demography and Ecology. His research focuses on the socioeconomic mobility of immigrants who entered the United States in the first half of the twentieth century.


For over a century, immigrant occupational outcomes have been directly linked to their citizenship status in the United States. Laws and employer practices give occupational advantages to citizens over noncitizens through hiring and promotions. In the first half of the twentieth century, the importance of status citizenship increased producing large economic differences among European immigrants. However, not all groups experienced the same economic advantages as a result of their citizenship status. This article seeks to understand whether Mexican immigrants benefited from citizenship during the age of mass migration.  I leverage unique features of administrative data that classified Mexicans as either white or nonwhite. I find that Mexicans who were classified as white benefited economically from becoming a citizen similar to their European counterparts. However, Mexicans who were classified as nonwhite held no economic advantages to becoming at citizen.


Kiyomi Colegrove


Kiyomi completed a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education at The University of Texas in Austin. Kiyomi is a former preschool and bilingual teacher. She is an Assistant Professor of Bilingual and Bicultural Education at Texas State University. Her research interest focus on the role of race, culture(s) and cross-cultural experiences in bilingual early childhood education, while focusing on the experiences of teachers, parents and children from immigrant communities. Her research privileges the voices and ideas of Latino immigrant communities, and centers on better understanding the curricular and pedagogical preferences of Latino immigrant parents and the relationship between home and school. Using video-cued ethnography, she studies how parents, teachers, and children’ ideas, beliefs, and experiences compare across multiple schools, communities, and contexts. Her areas of expertise include early childhood education, immigrant parent engagement, project-based learning, and bilingual education. She has conducted research projects in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile. Her work has been published in journals such as Bilingual Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, and Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood.



This paper centers on the voices of Latino immigrant parents and their ideas of agency and learning in education for their children in the U.S. When parents are asked about their thoughts on their children’s education, not only do they have important information to share, but they also provide a rationale that challenges perniciously circulated ideas about uncaring, unprepared and uninvolved Latino immigrant families (Arzubiaga, Noguerón, & Sullivan, 2009; Riojas-Cortez & Flores, 2009). This paper uses data from the Agency and Young Children Project and highlights immigrant parents’ ideas of agency and learning that their young children need to experience in order to develop their own interests, learn how to make good choices, and enjoy their freedom. This paper includes the voices of immigrant families in order to add to our understanding of agency in young children at home and school settings.


Jennifer Cook


Jennifer A. Cook is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut in May, 2017, and specializes in the study of im/migration, il/legality, and social change in transnational Mexico. Cook is currently working on revising her dissertation for publication as a book manuscript, tentatively titled Lawful Permanent Migrant: Legality and Mobility in Transnational Mexico. She also teaches courses on Latino immigration and cultural diversity in the U.S. for the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University.


Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork with a transnational network of Mexican im/migrants, this article examines how transnationally-oriented lawful permanent residents and their families conceive of legality in their encounters with the U.S. family-based immigration system. Specifically, I focus on the process through which lawful permanent residents and their spouses decide whether or not to pursue the “legalization” of their eligible family members through the family-based visa petition process. I show that while these decisions are fraught with difficulty and interfamilial tension, they are fundamentally strategic, as migrants and their families attempt to use family il/legalization as an instrument of intergenerational social mobility.


Jennifer Elrick

Jennifer Elrick holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto and joined the Department of Sociology at McGill University as an Assistant Professor in 2016. Her research focuses broadly on social constructions of race and ethnicity, primarily within states, and on the implications of those constructions for the material and symbolic inclusion/exclusion of immigrant and minority populations in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Her work has been published in Ethnic and Racial StudiesInternational MigrationInternational Migration Review, the Journal of International Migration and IntegrationSociological Forumand Sociology. Her current research, supported by two separate grants, examines the role of immigration bureaucrats in immigration control in Canada and Germany. Since 2016 she has served as a co-chair of the Immigration Research Network at the Council for European Studies.  In 2018, she joined the editorial board of Ethnic and Racial Studies.


The Micro-Sociological Foundations of Institutional Boundary Processes: Immigration Bureaucrats, the Idea of Race, and the Racial Boundary of Nation in Post-War Canada


Post-World War II changes in immigration policies in Canada and elsewhere, which eliminated explicit ethnic, racial, and national discrimination, can be seen as representing a shift in the racial boundary of nation toward the inclusion of non-white immigrant groups. In this paper, I argue that we cannot fully understand the effect of this change for the inclusion/exclusion on non-white immigrants without taking a closer look at how states shape the boundaries of nation. Doing so requires moving beyond the tendency in the boundary literature of differentiating between broad-strokes institutional boundary processes and micro-sociological analyses of boundary-making in everyday life. I illustrate the utility of pushing past this dichotomy with the help of a discursive institutionalist framework, which focuses on the role of ideas in policy change, and specifically on what I call state-based boundary work. I use this framework to examine the idea of “race” in Canadian immigration policymaking in the 1950s and 1960s, when Canada set about eliminating explicit racial discrimination from its immigration policy.  I show that immigration bureaucrats articulated two elements of the idea (a biological and a social class element). I also show that the shift from a racially discriminatory to a “non-discriminatory” immigration policy paradigm was facilitated, in part, by the ability of policymakers to “recast” the two elements of the idea of race to emphasize social class over biological difference as a means of including/excluding potential immigrants from the Canadian nation. This finding is significant for the boundary literature, as it shows that the meaning of boundary-change processes for social inclusion/exclusion depends on the ways in which micro-level interactions within the state give symbolic boundaries meaning.


Laila Hlass


Professor Laila L. Hlass’ teaching and scholarship focus on law, policy and practices that affect access to justice within the immigration law regime for particularly vulnerable communities including children, detainees, asylum-seekers, and survivors of violence, as well as emerging pedagogy and practices in experiential learning.  She regularly speaks and appears in the news regarding migration, refugees and immigrant children and has written op-eds for Slate, the Boston Globe and Times-Picayune. Her articles have been published in the Georgia State Law Review, New Mexico Law Review and Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Professor Hlass serves on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and the Clinical Legal Education Association. 


The Adultification of Immigrant Children

Adultification refers to the phenomenon whereby children of color are perceived as more adult-like and less innocent than white peers, resulting in a wide variety of negative outcomes across a diverse range of public systems, including education, juvenile justice, and child welfare.  Studies have emerged recently examining the adultification of children in the juvenile justice system and specifically how children of color are both perceived as years older than they actually are and relatedly suffer harsher consequences within the system. Meanwhile, the adultification of children in the immigration regime has been virtually ignored.

As the number of detained children in immigration custody has reached the highest levels ever documented, questions regarding the rights of children in the immigration regime have taken center stage. This paper examines the construction of childhood under immigration laws, policies and practices, focusing on the accommodations that attach to those deemed children. Specifically it examines the rise of unaccompanied minor exceptionalism, whereby the few accommodations that exist have been mostly only accessible to minor children who are not accompanied by a parent. Next, it documents how executive policies, action, and rhetoric targeting children has eroded even those minor protections.  After considering the evolution in juvenile justice jurisprudence to the recent recognition that children are fundamentally different than adults due to cognitive immaturity and special vulnerabilities, this paper re-imagines how the immigration system might incorporate new juvenile justice principles to undo the legacy of the adultification of immigrant children.


Regina Jefferies


Ms. Jefferies is a Teaching Fellow and Scientia PhD Scholar at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She is also an affiliate of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and a Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration. Ms. Jefferies has more than 10 years of experience practicing asylum and refugee law before federal administrative agencies, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In 2011, she earned her Master of Studies at the University of Oxford in international human rights law. Ms. Jefferies previously served as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Arizona Chapter Chair and is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent-rated attorney.



Street-Level Bureaucrats and Implementation of the Principle of Non-Refoulement in the United States    


The role of domestic street-level bureaucrats in the implementation of transnational human rights regimes is a critical aspect of compliance that the current literature does not adequately address. Rational choice and constructivist strands of international legal compliance theory focus on the 'state' as a monolith, peering inside the black box just long enough to glimpse the commotion and withdraw. Even liberal and neo-liberal theories of international law, which acknowledge that the state consists of individuals, generally look only as far as individuals as institutions. As a result, international law scholarship largely overlooks the role of low-level actors who function as an important piece of the regulatory framework, determining who gains access to and who is subjected to a formal legal process. This paper outlines one approach by which social-science research methods might be utilized to inform one international legal compliance theory – transnational legal process – using implementation of the international legal norm of non-refoulement in the United States as an example. Using a combination of doctrinal and network analysis, as well as ethnography, transnational legal process theory can form the basis for a socio-legal approach to compliance that includes a detailed description of the individual actors and institutions involved in whether states obey international law.


Ashley Johnson Bavery


Ashley Johnson Bavery is an Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University. Her research investigates American immigration policy, policing, and welfare in the twentieth century and her first book, Destination Detroit: Immigration Politics on America’s Northern Border is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Urban HistoryLabour/Le Travaille, and Reviews in American History and she has taught at Northwestern and Binghamton University.



My submission is the fourth chapter of my book project, Destination Detroit: Immigration Politics on America’s Northern Border, which explores how immigration quotas of the 1920s launched an era of policing and profiling that categorized certain Europeans as “foreigners” and excluded them from the benefits of citizenship in the decade that followed. On the borderland between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada, defining, policing, and marginalizing these “foreigners” became a profoundly local affair that denied those without citizenship access to jobs, labor unions, and ultimately, the federal welfare state. Chapter Four, “Leftist Reform, Repatriation and Deportation During the Depression” chronicles how unemployed workers in Detroit and Windsor responded to the Depression by electing leftist reform mayors, but despite Mayor Frank Murphy or David Croll’s views on immigration, both local leaders oversaw extensive deportation drives. In Detroit, the federal and local government cooperated to return thousands of Mexican immigrants and citizens to Mexico, while Europeans faced increased deportations in both the U.S. and Canada. Ultimately, the chapter argues that during the Great Depression, local deportation policies in both Detroit and Windsor began to coexist comfortably with leftist political programs, a development that tethered hardline immigration policy to growing welfare initiatives.


Sunmin Kim


Sunmin Kim is primarily interested in bringing insights from sociology of culture and knowledge into the studies of race and immigration in the United States. Currently a Mellon Faculty Fellow, Kim will assume the position of Assistant Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College in 2020. Kim is currently working on a book manuscript that looks at how American social scientists and federal bureaucrats attempted to study immigrants in the early twentieth century, and how such attempts led to the re-invention of the principles of boundary-making around the American nation. To answer these questions, Kim is draws on archival materials related to the Dillingham Commission Report (1911) – the most comprehensive study of immigrants ever undertaken by the federal government. In his other projects, Kim studied political incorporation of immigrants and their children in New York City; a new method of understanding minority politics; and the relationship between democracy and public opinion polling in East Asia. Kim is also interested in contemporary social theory, history of quantification, and archival methods. In addition to his Ph.D. in sociology from University of California, Berkeley, Kim received B.A. and M.A. in sociology from Seoul National University.


Blinded by the Facts: The Reworking of Whiteness in the Dillingham Commission (1907-1911)

Existing studies of whiteness has focused on whether and how certain immigrant groups became white over time, and what the question implies for the saliency of the color line in the United States. In the process, however, whiteness has often been portrayed merely as a label for group identity, the meaning of which have remained ubiquitous and unchanging throughout immigration history. By introducing the framework of sociology of knowledge and expertise, this paper aims to highlight a different dimension of whiteness. Simply put, whiteness is far from a natural fact, but a product social construction, in which racial ideologues, experts, and empirical data interact to produce a notion of peoplehood. Such process was far from straightforward: racism alone was not enough to produce a coherent and valid racial category, and often times racial ideologues had to wrestle and make compromise with experts and facts that defied their limited vision of the social world based on prejudice. Drawing on the case of the Dillingham Commission (1907-1911), a Congressional investigation that attempted to collect comprehensive data on immigrants living in the United States, this paper presents an account of how experts and facts clashed with the racial ideology of White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant (WASP) supremacy. The Commission’s goal was to portray immigrants from southern and eastern Europe (SEEs) as “undesirable races” that should be excluded from entering the country. To this end, the Commission developed a racial classification scheme to distinguish them from other immigrants, and collected the data to demonstrate their supposed undesirable qualities. However, the data did not support the Commission’s initial intentions, and its nativist leaders had to contend with experts and facts that defied their vision of the United States as an Anglo-Saxon nation. Tracing this process, this paper narrates the process through which whiteness emerged in the early twentieth century at the intersection of racial ideology, social science expertise, and empirical data, not just as an intended effect of racism but also as a by-product of knowledge production.


Suzy Lee


Suzy Lee is a sociologist and legal scholar whose work focuses on international labor migration, the transformations in migration law and policy in the neoliberal era, and the implication of migration policy for the protection of migrants’ rights.  Her primary line of research examines the development of sending state policy regimes, with a focus on the Philippine’s contract migration program.  Other projects include studies on immigrants’ access to public and legal services in the U.S.; service provision to survivors of trafficking in developing countries; the effect of neoliberal economic policy and migration regimes.  


This article analyzes the mechanisms through which sending state policies intervene in labor migration flows. Relying primarily on data from the Philippine state’s system of overseas contract migration, this article compares the main modalities of sending state intervention with those identified by two established theories of migration causation – social capital and world systems theory, which both posit that the linkages between sending and receiving countries facilitate migration flows. Sending state policies mimic or complement the two main mechanisms of migration facilitation: risk/cost mitigation and the initiation of contacts. They offer more formalized variations of the information distribution and material support that occurs through migrant networks, and serve as a useful, and sometimes necessary, counterpart to receiving states that are seeking to solve labor market challenges or to exert more control over existing migration flows. Finally, sending state can go beyond existing linkages through the explicit targeting of particular markets and the development of domestic human capital.


Mao-Mei Liu


Mao-Mei Liu seeks to understand the causes and consequences of international migration and the influence of families over the life cycle. Situated in the broad areas of migration and social demography, her research is organized into four areas. One area of research investigates the social determinants of migration: how personal relationships and contexts influence long-distance, international migration. Several papers examine how characteristics of migrant networks – the role of weak ties, for example –  and migrant institutions shape international migration and legal statuses. A second area of research studies families and migration in comparative multi-country contexts. Several papers investigate how the timing, geography and likelihood of migration are related to family structures and sibling migrations for Mexican and Senegalese international migrants. A third area examines the role of families in adolescent health, unearthing the role of fathers and mothers and investigating the social determinants of malaria. Her new project explores the relationship between trauma and migration over the life cycle and across generations, with a special interest in adolescence. Mao-Mei’s research has been published in Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Demographic Research and other venues, and funded by NIH, the European Commission. Previous to UC Berkeley, she was NICHD postdoctoral fellow at Brown University’s Population Studies and Training Center. She received her PhD in Political and Social Sciences (Social Demography) from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 2014. Since 2007, she has collaborated with researchers in Africa and Europe in the major effort to collect and analyze social demographic information about migration between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe (MAFE - the Migration between Africa and Europe project).



What are the drivers of refugee and forced migration? On one hand, political or environmental crises have often been assumed to explain refugee and forced migration entirely. However, while crisis possibly affects nearly the entire population of an area, individuals and families will differ “in their ability to respond to those crises” (Hugo 2018: 10). On the other hand, major theories of migration barely mention refugee and forces migration, but Hugo and colleagues argue that even ‘forced’ movers have agency, and that these theories do have relevance. Using retrospective multi-sited data collected in DR Congo, Ghana, Senegal and Europe, this project seeks to examine the social determinants of forced and unforced African migrations to Europe. In addition, it seeks to contrast determinants of South-South and South-North migrations and contribute new knowledge to our understanding of how gender, social status and education influence such migrations.


Daniel Morales


Daniel Morales from Azusa, California, is an Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University. His research focuses on immigration and politics. His upcoming book, "The Making of Mexican America: The Dynamics of Transnational Migration 1900-1940" examines the creation of transnational migratory networks across Mexico and the United States in the twentieth century.



Entre Aquí y Allá: The Paths of Migration and Emigration Control in Mexico 1920-1930

I show how Mexican society changed as a result of migration; how returning migrants, and those who sent back money and information changed communities and defied both governments’ attempts to control them. By 1920, a tenth of Mexico’s population was in the United States, as migration increased so did pressure to control this exodus. Building on revolutionary rhetoric, the Mexican government undertook an unprecedented effort in migration law enforcement in these years. The borderlands between Mexico and the United States went from a fluid space where people traveled back and forth on a regular basis to a policed space where border agents for both governments enforced a border over the land. Mexican agents patrolled deep into central Mexico in their efforts to stop undocumented migration north. Yet, transnational migratory circuits were ingrained in Mexican society and could not be undone. While the Mexican federal government issued directives and propaganda, migrants mostly ignored them in favor of less official, more informal, and sometimes chance word-of-mouth information exchanges that they saw as more relevant to their lives. Looking at how and why migrants chose to make the journey north in several towns starkly illustrates the disconnect between federal officials' policy desires and the needs of migrants and local migrant-sending regions. Examining three states in central Mexico, I show how migration came to be seen as a solution to many of the problems Mexicans faced after the Mexican Revolution, becoming an important way to secure a livelihood in central Mexico.


Julia Morris


Julia Morris is a post-doctoral fellow at The New School's Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. She is a political anthropologist whose research focuses on migration governance and the environment. Her doctoral research at the University of Oxford’s Center on Migration, Policy and Society examined the outsourcing of asylum processes to new localities, bringing resource extractive sectors into dialogue. She has published in Global Networks and with Routledge publication house on immigration and border control and global knowledge networks. Her book manuscript is under edit with Cornell University Press on the consequential damages of phosphate and refugee processing in the Republic of Nauru. Forthcoming publications also include with Humanity and PM Press on the hazards of mineral and migrant economies. She has separately conducted research on special economic zones in Jordan, leading graduate student research trips to Amman in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee.


In the wake of more refugee flows and the political potency of refugee scares, governments have brokered trade deals to extend the geographies of refugee processing and resettlement into new sites far beyond their borders. Drawing on 15 months of fieldwork between Geneva, Australia, Fiji, and the Republic of Nauru, this paper explores the outsourcing of practices of asylum. I argue that liberal media representations that mask Nauru’s industrial operations play a powerful role in extending what have become ‘human trading economies’ into far-flung locales, while also stirring Nauruans’ quotidian lives. In examining the cultures of violence and exploitation of Nauru’s newest resource curse, I suggest that alternative framings are necessary to combat the ease with which refugee processing systems modulate to new extraction sites.


Kelsey Norman


Dr. Kelsey Norman is a SSHRC postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for European Studies and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. During the 2017-2018 academic year she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Sié Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver. Her research examines Middle East and North African countries as sites of migrant and refugee settlement and she is currently working on a book manuscript titled, "Reluctant Reception: Understanding Host State Migration and Refugee Policies in the Middle East and North Africa." The book is based on four years of conducting more than 150 interviews in Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon with government officials, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, and individual migrants and refugees. Her work has been published by peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesMashriq & Mahjar: Journal of the Middle East and North African Migration StudiesInternational Journal of Migration and Border StudiesJournal of the Middle East and Africa, Refugee ReviewCrossings: Journal of Migration & Culture and The Postcolonialist, as well as by media and policy outlets including JadaliyyaMuftahThe Cairo Review of Global AffairsPolitical Violence at a Glance, and The Washington Post.



International Migration Organizations, State Sovereignty, and Shifting Red Lines

What role do international organizations have in shaping the policy decisions of migrant and refugee host states given the constraints of sovereignty? This is a question that is particularly relevant for host states in the Global South, which host nearly half of the world’s migrant population and more than eighty percent of the world’s refugees. The literature on global governance and international organizations is fairly divided on the role that international institutions can have on domestic decisions and outcomes. Realists view international institutions as reflecting the interests of powerful nations and not capable of affecting state decisions, constructivists see international organizations as playing a large role in directly affecting domestic policy—particularly regarding norm development and institutionalization—, and institutionalists view international organizations as able to independently influence state behavior,

In this paper I pay particular attention to the mechanisms through which two intergovernmental institutions—the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) —can affect domestic policy decisions, but also account for the specific dynamics of the international migration and refugee regimes and the hierarchical global system in which they operate. Looking across four host states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and using original data from more than sixty interviews conducted with government officials and migration-focused organizations in Egypt (2013-2014), Morocco (2014-2015), Turkey (2014-2015), and Lebanon (2017), this paper evaluates the incentives and capabilities of these international actors in affecting domestic policy choices. I demonstrate that the rise of supranational migration actors like the UNHCR and IOM in recent years has had tangible impacts on migration engagement decisions across the four states in question, but that international actors have been able to influence policy outcomes to varying degrees depending on: (1) the leverage they can offer host state governments and populations, (2) the extent to which the topic of migration has been politicized in the host state; (3) the pre-existing relationships that intergovernmental or international organizations have in the host state; (4) the security concerns around migration or refugees.


Adaurennaya Onyewuenyi


Adaurennaya "Ada" Onyewuenyi is an assistant professor of psychology at The College of New Jersey. Her research is located at the intersection of education, human development, psychology, and sociology. She specializes in adolescent development, immigration, racial and ethnic identity development, peer relations, discrimination, and academic outcomes with an emphasis on Black American and African immigrant adolescents. More broadly, her research program focuses on social inequity in educational attainment and access via two research strands: (1) racial and ethnic identity, discrimination, and academic performance of Black American and African immigrant youth and (2) cultural and peer influences on ethnically diverse youths’ response to conflict management, reciprocity, and reconciliation.

She received her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in educational psychology from the University of Washington’s College of Education and holds a B.S. in Human Development with minors in education, psychology, and sociology from the University of California, Davis.


Many researchers have assumed that Black-American and African immigrant youth have a monolithic racial identity and similar educational experiences. Much of the scholarship has ignored ethnic diversity among Blacks in the U.S. In response, this study investigated the role of ethnic group membership, racial identity, and teacher discrimination on the academic performance of Black-American and Nigerian adolescents. Through ANOVA and Regression analyses, this study assessed (1) whether an “immigrant advantage” in grades existed for Nigerian relative to Black-American youth, and (2) examined the relationship of racial identity to perceived teacher discrimination and grades. Findings revealed there was no indication of an “immigrant advantage” in grades for Nigerian youth, and neither racial identity nor perceived discrimination were significant predictors of grades.


Michael Paarlberg


Michael A. Paarlberg is an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC and a regular contributor to the Guardian. He has published articles in Comparative Politics and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and is currently working on a book on diaspora politics and transnational elections in El Salvador, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Previously he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration, and has a Ph.D. from Georgetown University. He has also served as an expert witness in asylum cases, and is an opera critic. His work can be found at


How much do immigrants’ political experiences in their home countries affect their political socialization in receiving countries? Are immigrants from authoritarian states handicapped in their participation in democratic receiving countries? This paper explores two aspects of the political socialization debate: 1) whether immigrants’ experiences with politics in their country of origin have persistent effects that carry over into their new country of residence, and 2) whether variation in immigrants’ experiences with democracy has differential effects on civic participation in their new country of residence. This study addresses these questions using data from the 2006 Latino National Survey, examining evidence of Mexican immigrant political experiences in Mexico (pre-immigration) over time as determinants of Mexican immigrants’ political behavior in the U.S. Its principal contribution is an accounting of variation at the subnational level, exploiting variation in time period of democratization at the state level in Mexico, to better measure migrants’ likely socialization with authoritarian or democratic values. This is done using a cross-classified multilevel model (CCMM) specification, which makes it possible to simultaneously examine random effects corresponding to variation of individuals at both the state and national level in both the U.S. and in Mexico. The findings suggest that measures of state-level authoritarianism in individuals’ home states in Mexico do not strongly predict individual-level attitudes and behaviors in the U.S., suggesting immigrants’ personal experience with subnational authoritarianism is not as strong as might be expected.


Sara Pavan


Sara Pavan is a Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Political Science of the University of British Columbia. Her research examines what public policies matter for immigrants’ political participation, and the causal mechanisms through which they influence immigrants’ political attitudes and behavior. She is also interested in the use of mixed methods to conduct research with, and on immigrant communities, in Canada and the United States.



The state and immigrant civil society: friends or foes?

Successful democracy requires that individuals work together towards common goals, one of which is to keep governments accountable for their actions. Can states influence people’s ability to solve collective action problems?

Although the literature offers three divergent answers to this question, it has yet to test the underlying causal mechanisms. Historical determinists argue that states can neither help nor hinder collective action, which is rooted in stable cultural repertoires. Institutionalists contend that public policies offer opportunities for civil society to thrive, by providing it with financial and organizational resources that organizers can capitalize on. Tocquevillians, by contrast, claim that government stifles civil society, because public policy tends to social problems that would be otherwise left to private actors’ initiative.  I argue that these three answers imply five distinct causal mechanisms, three of which affect the size of civil society and two of which influence the types of voluntary organizations one can observe in a given policy context.

Based on a focused comparison of immigrant civil society in Toronto (Canada) and in Silicon Valley (United States), this paper uses original archival and survey data to test across these theories and mechanisms. The findings confirm and challenge the claims made by institutionalists and Tocquevillians. Both the presence and absence of public policies can increase the size of civil society. However, what institutionalists and Tocquevillians miss is that government-supported and philanthropy supported civil society are qualitatively different in the role they perform in democratic systems and in the socioeconomic barriers they pose for individual membership. The findings explain why divergent claims about the effects of state and civil society can co-exist in the literature.

Although both states and private actors can have positive effects on the size of civil society, the paper argues that they have different implications for participatory inequalities in advanced democracies.


Bijal Shah


Bijal Shah is an Associate Professor of Law at the Arizona State University (ASU) / Sandra Day O' Connor College of Law.  Professor Shah's teaching and scholarly interests lie in the areas of administrative law, immigration law, international human rights law and LGBT law.  Prior to joining ASU, Professor Shah was an acting assistant professor at the NYU School of Law.  Before entering the academy, Professor Shah was Associate General Counsel for the Department of Justice / Executive Office for Immigration Review.  In this position, she wrote immigration regulations, legislation and national policies on behalf of the General Counsel, the Director’s Office and Congress.  Earlier in her career, Professor Shah served as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Department of Homeland Security / U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, where her primary responsibilities included ensuring high-quality refugee and asylum adjudications nationwide and in the Middle East.  Professor Shah is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where she was a senior editor on the Yale Law Journal and a Yale University Kirby Human Rights Fellow.  Professor Shah is also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


This Essay considers the dynamics and implications of bureaucratic friction in the immigration context.  In immigration, civil servant resistance has resulted from the ground-level view that new political directives are not harmonious with a given agency’s or subcomponent’s core mission.  Such resistance to immigration policies under Presidents W. Bush and Obama was relatively isolated.  In contrast, resistance from multiple corners of the executive branch—including the Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security—suggest widespread bureaucratic aversion to President Trump’s immigration agenda.  In addition, while resistance under past administrations may have led to relenting by superiors, upper-level retaliation against resistance is the norm under Trump, which may lend itself to the inaccurate framing of recent resistance as more transgressive than before.  Rather than condemnation, increasingly frequent incidents of resistance from divergent factions of the immigration bureaucracy, particularly if met with severe backlash from executive leadership, implore a public or even a congressional response.


Brendan Shanahan


Brendan A. Shanahan is a scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century North American immigration and citizenship history.  He received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2018 and his BA from McGill University in 2011.  His dissertation, “Making Modern American Citizenship: Citizens, Aliens, and Rights, 1865-1965” explores the rise of “citizen only” laws – such as the right to vote and access to employment – to understand how citizens and noncitizens alike encountered, experienced, and contested (increasingly exclusive) “rights of citizenship” in American life.  He has published in the American Review of Canadian Studies and the Journal of Transnational American Studies.  Fellowships and grants received include: the ASLH-Cromwell Foundation Early Career Scholar Fellowship, the UC San Diego CCIS-California Immigration Research Initiative Fellowship, UC Berkeley’s IGS-Fred Martin and Mike Synar Graduate Research Fellowships, and McGill University’s Philip F. Vineberg Travelling Fellowship.


“Who Counts? Noncitizens and Membership in the Polity, 1865-1965,” explores how every state in the nation (in addition to the federal House of Representatives) ultimately recognized all residents – citizen and noncitizen alike – as part of the population for the purposes of drawing legislative districts.  This was no foregone conclusion.  As late as the mid-twentieth century, nine states barred all or some noncitizens from being counted for state legislative redistricting.  And nativist members of Congress repeatedly sought to bar noncitizens from federal apportionment schemes.  While these debates were inextricably linked to many other (inter- and intra-) party and rural-urban politics, supporters of these restrictions claimed them as an exclusive citizenship right.  While immigrant rights advocates sometimes succeeded in preventing the adoption of additional “citizen only” policies in the early twentieth century, egalitarian arguments rarely succeeded in repealing entrenched laws.  Instead, advocates of including noncitizens usually succeeded in overturning them by focusing on common failures encountered in their implementation.


Kristina Shull


Kristina Shull is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Global American Studies at Harvard University where she teaches in the Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights unit. She specializes in race, foreign relations, immigration control, and prison privatization in the modern United States and holds a Ph.D. in History from UC Irvine, a Master’s in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU, and a B.A. in History from UCLA. Her current book project, Invisible Bodies: Immigration Crisis and Private Prisons Since the Reagan Era, explores the concurrent rise of immigration detention and prison privatization in the early 1980s at the intersections of Cold War nationalism and growing public xenophobia after the Vietnam War. It illustrates the mutually constitutive relationship between migration and foreign policy, and the immigrant detention center as a transnational, imperial space. The book concludes that limiting the visibility of migrant populations was an integral part of Reagan’s rightward shift from a “welfare” to a “warfare” state during this time, as many of the enforcement structures established to address a perceived immigration crisis and to silence opposition movements further accelerated the rise of mass incarceration. Shull is the creator of IMM Print and Climate Refugee Stories; in 2016 she was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Foundations for her work in immigration detention storytelling.


 “Give Us Liberty, or We Will Tear the Place Apart”: Resistance and the Rise of an Immigration Detention Regime, 1981-1985

This article explores the modes of resistance inside and outside of immigration detention that arose in response to new, more punitive detention policies enacted by the Reagan administration that specifically targeted Cuban, Haitian, and Central American asylum-seekers in the early 1980s, and the modes of retaliation adopted by the administration in response. Migrant and activist testimonies, media coverage, and government documents reveal how recurrent spectacles of mass migration during this time of perceived public crisis, themselves created and fueled by US Cold War foreign policy, migration controls, and media and public responses, became a specter of Caribbean and Latin American migration that the Reagan administration wielded as a powerful policy tool—to justify expanding the detention system, to obscure the impact of its foreign policies, and to retaliate against and silence migrant voices and allied opposition. The new enforcement policies enacted during Reagan’s first term were, namely: a return to the use of systematic detention that had been abandoned in the 1950s, interdiction on the high seas, the militarization of border enforcement under the War on Drugs, and private prison contracting. Caribbean and Central American migrants in particular, and their resistance, stood at the center of the formulation of these policies that have since fueled an exploding detention system.

However, alternative narratives abounded, from within the administration, from within spaces of detention, and from “inside-outside” and coalition activism that illustrated the intersections of oppression facing migrant and US-minority groups. These acts of resistance, spectacles of their own, envisioned alternatives to the trajectories of Reagan foreign policy and prison doctrines embraced by subsequent administrations. As detention numbers today reach an unprecedented high, untangling the origins, dynamics, and legacies of resistance and retaliation becomes an urgently relevant task.


Brian Tuohy


Brian Tuohy is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. Brian is an ethnographer and urban sociologist with interests in immigration, citizenship, medical sociology and qualitative methods. His published work has appeared in City & Community and he is currently working on a book manuscript that draws on over five years of ethnographic fieldwork and which investigates the simultaneous inclusion and exclusion that undocumented youth experience in the United States today. Brian received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago, an MSt from Oxford University in The Study of Religion where he was also a Clarendon Scholar, and a BA summa cum laude in Psychology and Religion from the University of Rochester in 2007.


Siting Replenishment: The Role of Place in the Immigrant Incorporation Experience

Research has demonstrated the significant impact “replenishment” and the continual arrival of new immigrants of varying legal statuses has on the Mexican American immigration experience, specifically with respect to its impact on ethnic identity. This article puts forward an institutional based approach to immigrant incorporation and draws on over five years of ethnographic fieldwork at a large soccer facility I call Chicharito’s Place in a predominantly Mexican American neighborhood in Chicago. My fieldsite, which is host to a diverse population of Mexican Americans in Chicago including new undocumented arrivals and long time residents, is a part of a social milieu that can both protect and constrain immigrants and is an example of what I call a “safe space”: in a context of heightened fear and institutional avoidance, these are spaces which provide a measure of institutional acceptance where the replenishing population of both documented and undocumented immigrants interact and where the undocumented can feel comfortable. Through examining and comparing the experiences of the undocumented 1.5 generation and their citizen born peers specifically, I show how such spaces reveal mechanisms behind the strengthening of intergroup boundaries and the simultaneous sharpening of internal differentiation within this Mexican-American group. Investigating the tension that is produced in these contrasting experiences adds texture to theories of undocumented life in the United States today.

Maria-Elena Young


Maria-Elena Young, PhD, is a researcher who examines the impact of immigration policies on public health. Her studies have employed both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand how access to health care and health status are shaped by both federal policies, such as those that increase immigration enforcement, and state policies, such as those that restrict or expand rights and protections for noncitizens. She is the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Merced and project director of the Research on Immigrant Health and State Policy (RIGHTS) Study at the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed her PhD in Community Health Sciences at UCLA and holds a Masters in Public Health in Maternal and Child from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA in Spanish from Swarthmore College.


Immigrant criminalization policies in US states: Examination of the relationship between state policy context and well-being among citizens and noncitizens

In the last twenty years, state-level immigrant policies have expanded the role of state governments in the surveillance, apprehension, and deportation of its noncitizen residents. These policies criminalize immigrants by policing and imposing punitive sanctions on multiple aspects of their daily lives and shaping their racialization and exposure to discriminatory environments. Because criminalization may create barriers to health-promoting resources and conditions of chronic stress that harm well-being, I sought to assess the relationship between criminalization polices and the health inequalities between noncitizens and citizens. I conducted a systematic review of criminalization policies in each US state and merged the data with health and demographic data from the 2014 and 2015 National Health Interview Survey. I assessed the variation in self-reported health between noncitizens and citizens across states with varying levels of criminalization policy, net of other factors and the level of integration policy. In states with lower levels of criminalization there was no statistically significant difference in excellent health between noncitizens and US born citizens. However, compared to their counterparts in states with lower levels of criminalization, noncitizens in higher criminalization states were more likely to report excellent health. Further, in comparison to US born citizens also in higher criminalization states, noncitizens were more likely to report excellent health. These paradoxical findings suggest that noncitizens in states with higher criminalization report better health than those in states with lower criminalization, but also that in states with lower criminalization there is less inequality in well-being between citizens and noncitizens. I discuss the possible dynamics that explain these findings, including the influences of immigrants’ perceptions of and exposure to discrimination and their resilience within hostile policy climates.

Commentators & panelists bios

Sameer Ashaar is Vice Dean for Experiential Education and Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Ashar focuses both his clinical practice and scholarship on the relationship of law to racial and economic subordination. He has worked on policy advocacy and community education projects with numerous immigrant organizations. His publications have appeared most recently in UCLA Law Reviewand California Law Review. He has served on the board of editors of Clinical Law Review and on the boards of trustees of the Clinical Legal Education Association and Swarthmore College. 

Karida Brownis Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA. Her research focuses on the relationship between race, social transformations, and communal memory. Her book “Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia” (UNC Press), reconstructs the life histories of a cohort of African Americans who migrated throughout the Appalachian region during the African American Great Migration. Her new research project, the Origins of Racial Inequality in Education, funded by the Fulbright Global Scholars program and the Hellman Fellows Fund, undertakes a global history of segregated schooling and its enduring legacies on race and education today.

Ingrid Eagly is a Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Her research focuses on immigration law, criminal adjudication, and public interest lawyering. Her recent scholarship has explored the privatization of police policymaking, the practice of detaining families seeking asylum at the border, and barriers to access to counsel in immigration court. Her published work has appeared in leading law reviews including the California Law Review, the Texas Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the New York University Law Review, the Northwestern University Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana is Professor in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA and Associate Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration. Her research focuses on the experiences of the children of immigrants in urban schools and communities, with a focus on their work as language and cultural brokers. She is the author of two books titled, Translating Childhoods: Immigrant Youth, Language, and Culture(Rutgers 2009) and Immigrant Children in Transcultural Spaces: Language, Learning, and Love(Routledge 2015). 

Anne Gilliland is associate Dean for Information Studies at UCLA. Her research addresses recordkeeping and archival systems and practices in support of human rights and daily life in post-conflict settings, particularly in the countries emerging out of the former Yugoslavia, and rights in records for forcibly displaced persons; the role of community memory in promoting reconciliation in the wake of ethnic conflict; bureaucratic violence and the politics of metadata; digital recordkeeping and archival informatics; and research methods and design in archival studies.

Ruben Hernandez-Leon is Professor of Sociology at UCLA and director for the UCLA Center for Mexican Studies. His research deals with the migration industry, labor migration, new destinations, and Mexican migration to the US.  He is the author of Metropolitan Migrants: The Migration of Urban Mexicans to the United States(University of California Press 2008), New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States (Russell Sage 2005 with V. Zúñiga), and Skills of the Unskilled: Work and Mobility among Mexican Migrants (University of California Press 2015, with Jacqueline Hagan and  Jean-Luc Demonsant)

Laurie Kain Hart is Professor of Anthropology at the UCLA. Her research interests include: violence, civil war, ethnicity and borders; space, architecture, art, material and visual culture; medical and psychoanalytic anthropology and the health risk environment; kinship, gender and social theory. Her research sites include Greece, the circum-Mediterranean, the Balkans, and the US inner-city (Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York). Her ongoing work in Greece focuses on the sequelae of violence in Northern Greece on border communities and among former child political refugees of the Greek Civil War.  

Randall Kuhn is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at UCLA. His research employs a wide array of methods and data to study the social determinants of health, health program evaluation,the health-development nexus, and the impacts of migration on health. In Bangladesh, he leads a 35-year evaluation of the effects of randomized child and reproductive health interventions on health and socioeconomic change across generations. His cross-national research and forecasts explore the effectiveness of global health policies and the role of improvements in health as a driver of social and political change. 

Cecilia Menjivar is Professor of Sociology and Dorothy L. Meier Social Equities Chair at UCLA. Her research focuses on the impacts of the legal regime and laws on Central American immigrants in the US, and the effects of living in contexts of multisided violence on individuals, especially women, in Latin America. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, International Migration Review, Ethnic & Racial Studies, among other journals. She is the author of the books: Immigrant Families(Polity 2016 with Leisy Abrego and Leah Schmalzbauer), Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America (California, 2000), and Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala(California, 2011). She is co-editor of Constructing Immigrant “Illegality”: Critiques, Experiences, and Responses(Cambridge, 2014), Latinos/as in the United States: Changing the Face of América (Springer 2008), and When States Kill: Latin America, the US, and Technologies of Terror(Texas, 2005).

Hiroshi Motomura is Susan Westerberg Prager Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA. He is co-author of two immigration-related casebooks:Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy (8th ed. West 2016), and Forced Migration: Law and Policy (2d ed. West 2013), and he has published many widely cited articles on immigration and citizenship. He is also the author the books  Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States (Oxford 2006) and Immigration Outside the Law (Oxford 2014), which have received numerous prizes. Professor Motomura has testified in the U.S. Congress, serves as co-counsel or a volunteer consultant in many litigated cases and policy matters, and was an outside advisor to the Obama-Biden Transition Team's Working Group on Immigration Policy.

Margaret Peters is Associate Professor of Political Science at UCLA. Her research focuses broadly on international political economy with a special focus on the politics of migration. Her book, Trading Barriers: Immigration and the Remaking of Globalization (2017, Princeton University Press) examines the relationship between trade policy, outsourcing, and immigration policy and received the Lowi award for the best first book from APSA and IPSA, and the Best Book Award from the IPE and Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Sections of the International Studies Associations and the Migration and Citizenship section of APSA.

Michael Rodriguez is professor and vice chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founding director of the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America, founding chair of the UCLA Global Health Minor, Co-Director of UCLA Firearm Violence Prevention Center, and Founding Director of the Health Equity Network of the Americas, an international network with representatives from 26 countries. Dr. Rodríguez is published widely in the areas of research that include, ethnic/racial and immigrant health equity, gun and intimate partner violence prevention, and primary care systems. 

Roger Waldinger is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration. Waldinger has published nine books, most recently The Cross-Border Connection: Immigrants, Emigrants, and their Homelands (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015); A Century of Transnationalism: Immigrants and their Homeland Connections(co-edited with Nancy Green; University of Illinois Press, 2016); and Origins and Destinations: The Making of the Second Generation, co-authored with Renee Luthra and Thomas Soehl (Russell Sage Foundation Press: 2018).  His current research concerns the acquisition of citizenship and the development of national identity among immigrants and their descendants.

Chris-Zepeda-Millan is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. His award winning research has been published in top political science and interdisciplinary academic journals, including the American Journal of Political Science (AJPS), Political Research Quarterly (PRQ), Politics, Groups and Identities (PGI), Critical Sociology, the Chicana/o Latina/o Law Review, and Social Science Quarterly (SSQ). His first book, Latino Mass Mobilization: Immigration, Racialization, and Activism,was recently published by Cambridge University Press.


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