I am a Professor of Political Science and Faculty Affiliate with the Global Migration Center at the University of California, Davis. I teach and do research in the field of race and ethnic politics, particularly emphasizing immigration policy, attitudes and opinion about immigration, and Latinx politics more generally. My research agenda is multidisciplinary, encompassing not only political science, but also social psychology and sociology as well. I strongly believe we should engage questions that produces research with an eye toward making a change. As such, my recent work has focused on the implications of deportation policy as well as the relationship between border enforcement and migrant deaths on the U.S.-Mexico border. These questions have naturally led me to think about Latinx identity, non-Latinx perceptions of Latinx, and Latinx-relevant public policy, including U.S. immigration policy. My work has been published in several leading academic journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Politics of Groups and Identity, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.
I frequently engage the media on questions related to immigration policy and have contributed to stories to the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Arizona Republic, Christian Science Monitor, Pacific Standard, the Marshall Project, Nogales International, Sacramento Bee, Telemundo, PBS, and other media outlets as a leading expert on immigration and border-related issues. In addition to this, I have discussed these issues on television news shows with media outlets in Los Angeles, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Tucson, AZ, and Yuma, AZ as well with international media outlets in Australia, France, Italy, Lithuania, and Northern Ireland. Apart from my work in the field of race and ethnic policy, I have also published widely in the field of political methodology including the book Event History Modeling for the Social Sciences, coauthored with Janet Box-Steffensmeier.
In addition to my research, I provide guidance and mentorship to students from underrepresented groups. I encourage students to use their personal commitment to social justice and equality to inform their intellectual growth and professional choices. My dedication to developing political leaders, advocates, and scholars of color propels my students to gain advanced degrees and pursue careers in politics, law, policy, research, and academia.
Outside of academia, I work extensively with the humanitarian organization, Humane Borders, serving on its Board of Directors and as their Media Liaison. I also volunteer with Humane Borders by assisting with their efforts to provide water to migrants crossing through the Sonoran Desert and am an authorized driver for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument water station routes. Humane Borders maintains several water stations throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, a region that has seen more than 4,000 migrants perish in the last 20 years. The water stations are located where migrants are known to have died. I have worked as a volunteer and driver for Humane Borders for several years and make numerous trips to the border each year. Additionally, I lived in Tucson, AZ for many years, working in the Political Science Department at the University of Arizona. As a proud third-generation Mexican American, I am compelled to assist migrants in need in the U.S.-Mexico border zone and am deeply involved in issues related to social justice and immigrant rights.