Immigration Experts
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York is committed to being a community that welcomes scholars from home and abroad, and we seek to be a place where the lives of immigrants from all walks of life are valued, recorded and accurately represented. Our faculty members are among nation’s top academics producing broad-reaching research and analysis of the immigrant experience and the effect of immigration policies on their lives and lives of the communities they enrich. 

As an academic community with a vested interest in protecting the rights and freedoms of our faculty, students and surrounding community, the Graduate Center takes seriously our responsibility to accurately inform the conversation and future city, state and federal immigration policy. On this site, you will find Graduate Center-generated research, writings, interviews, videos, podcasts and other content exploring the lives of immigrants in New York City and beyond. You can also find contact information for experts on a variety of immigration-related topics, including assimilation, ethno-racial diversity, immigrant political activism, immigrant families, labor issues, U.S. immigration policy, geopolitical immigration trends.


GC Immigration Experts

Richard Alba

Distinguished Professor, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Race, urban sociology, immigrant assimilation & ethno-racially diverse workforces
LANGUAGES: German (fluent), French (moderate)

Laird Bergad

Professor, History
Director, Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

SPECIALIZATIONS: Latin America and Caribbean history, demography, Latino data project, Latino immigration and culture in the U.S.
LANGUAGES: Spanish (fluent), Portuguese (fluent)

David Brotherton

Professor, Criminal Justice

SPECIALIZATIONS: Juvenile Crime & Justice, Gangs, Qualitative Research, Ethnographic Methods in Criminal Justice. ICE Deportation, Immigration

Heath Brown

Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice

SPECIALIZATIONS: American Presidency, Electoral Politics, Immigrants in electoral politics, the role of immigrant-serving nonprofits, interest groups and advocacy, presidential transition politics, Republican Party and the Tea Party

Margaret Chin

Associate Professor, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Immigrant families and work, Asian immigrants, Chinese life, Asian American life, especially children and young adults of immigrant parents
LANGUAGES: Cantonese (fluent), Madarin (moderate)

Nancy Foner

Distinguished Professor, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Immigrants in the U.S. and Western Europe, Islam as a barrier to immigration, immigration to NYC, the way immigration has changed perceptions of race and ethnicity in the U.S., including the meaning of whiteness

Ismael García-Colón

Associate Professor, Anthropology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Migration, Latinxs in the USA, Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rican migration

David Jaeger

Professor, Economics

SPECIALIZATIONS: Labor Economics, Econometrics, Labor market, Impact of immigration

Philip Kasinitz

Presidential Professor, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Immigration and citizenship in North America, assimilation and experiences of first-generation Americans and Caribbean immigrants, the role of immigration in creating global cities

John Mollenkopf

Distinguished Professor, Political Science, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Urban politics; comparative urbanism; NYC politics, economic, social and political contribution of immigrant communities; what policies most affect immigrant communities; and citizenship naturalization policies; Electoral Politics; Public Policy

Peter Romaniuk

Associate Professor, Political Science
Assistant Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies

SPECIALIZATIONS: Terrorism, counter-terrorism, terrorist financing and multilateral sanctions

Victoria Sanford

Professor, Anthropology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Latin American History, Social & Political Movements

Robert Smith

Professor, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Mexican immigrants in NYC, DACA, and undocument immigrants
LANGUAGES: Spanish (fluent)

Van Tran

Associate Professor, Sociology

SPECIALIZATIONS: Immigration, Intergroup Relations, Urban Poverty, Social Inequality, and Public Policy

Faculty Publications


New State Law discourage registering immigrants. How Will that Affect the Latino Vote 
Washington Post, 10.10.16
Heath Brown

Nonprofits May Hold the Key to Immigration Turnout in 2016, 09.27.16
Heath Brown

U.S. Can Do Better Job of Integrating Immigrants 
San Diego Union Tribune, 09.24.15
Richard Alba and Nancy Foner

My Grandpa Was an Unaccompanied Minor to U.S. in 1907, 08.08.14
Phillip Kasinitz


Immigration Past & Present
Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Summer 2013
Nancy Foner

The Strange Math of the Heritage Foundation’s Immigration Report
Democracy Journal, 05.17.13
Richard Alba

Policy Briefs

Managing Religious Difference in North America and Europe in an Era of Mass Migration  
Migration Policy, 04.16
Richard Alba & Nancy Foner

Does CVE Work? Lessons Learned From the Global Effort to Counter Violent Extremism
Global Center on Cooperative Security, 09.15
Peter Romaniuk


Unsettled Americans
Book by John Mollenkopf

Immigrants and Electoral Politics
Health Brown


Latino Data Project Reports
Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
CUNY Academic Works

Media Coverage


Is the United States Going Rogue?
The Hill, 02.13.17

Trump’s Travel Ban Threatens Higher Learning  
The Hill, 01.31.17

Radio Interviews

A Week and Two Plane Tickets Later, a Return from Iran
WNYC, 02.07.17

Trump’s Travel Ban Threat to Higher Ed
WNYC, 02.06.17

Universities in New York Grapple with Trump's Immigration Order  
WNYC, 01.31.17


Trump Administration Advances Policies to ‘Other’ Migrants
Rewire, 08.07.17

What's behind the study that says millions of undocumented people voted in 2012 and 2008 (article in Spanish)
Noticiero Univision, 6.23.17

Puerto Rican Day Parade Honoree: ‘A Bad Guy.’ ‘Why Not?’
New York Times, 5.29.17

Appeals Court Rejects Trump Travel Ban 
Inside Higher Ed, 5.26.17

Remembering a Pioneer of Asian-American Studies 
The New Yorker, 5.3.17

The Chilling of Middle East Studies 
The Nation, 5.1.17

Academic Libraries Respond to Immigration Ban
Library Journal, 02.06.17

Reunions and Sighs of Relief as Some Stranded Students Return to the U.S.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 02.05.17
CUNY Graduate Student, Stranded in Iran after Trump Travel Ban, Returns to the United States
NY1, 02.05.17

Detention of Iranian CUNY student sparks Brooklyn rally
USA Today College, 01.31.17

Students Stranded Worldwide By Trump Order
NPR, 01.30.17

Trump’s Immigration Ban: Meet Some of the Stranded Muslims
NBC News, 01.30.17

Muslim-American Families Concerned About Their Saftey
Al Jazeera America, 12.28.15

Young Muslim Americans Are Feeling the Strain of Suspicion  
The New York Times, 12.14.15
Record of Mosque Hints at Muslims’ Long History in New York
The New York Times, 12.09.15

The New Generation Stands Out (article in Spanish) 
El Diario NY, 08.09.15

Have Dominicans Overcome Puerto Ricans in Number in NYC (article in Spanish)
El Diario, 11.13.14

Dominicans Surpass Puerto Ricans as City’s Largest Latino Group
Daily News, 11.13.14

Study: Controversial Anti-Immigration Paper Had Basic Errors
Mother Jones, 05.16.13


Columbians in New York (in Spanish)
CNN en Espanol, 05.25.15

Bob Herbert Op-Ed TV: Laird W. Bergad & Thanu Yakupitiyage on immigration
CUNY TV, 08.13.14


YouTube Videos

The First 100 Days: Immigration in Trump's America
In a timely discussion, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer hosts a panel of experts with diverse viewpoints on what US immigration policy should be and how it will affect undocumented workers and the economy. Panelists include Nancy Foner, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, and Douglas S. Massey. 

LGBTQ Pride Month: A Conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker. In high-profile articles in the New York Times Magazine and Time, Vargas revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant and has since appeared widely in media, discussing his story and American citizenship. He joins Kevin Nadal, executive director of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies, for a special Pride Month conversation.

Graduate Center Immigration Panel
"Perspectives" was moderated by Errol Louis, host of NY1's "Inside City Hall" and adjunct professor, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. The event featured leading American scholars on immigration: Richard Alba, Sujatha Fernandes, Nancy Foner, Philip Kasinitz, and John Mollenkopf. 

CUNY TV's Short Doc Web Series

The series showcases short documentaries about NYC's minority communities. The following episodes focus on immigration and feature GC faculty and/or students. 

Coming and Living in America - An Interview With Nancy Foner
Professor Nancy Foner of the Graduate Center and Hunter College, discusses immigrant women’s challenges in becoming part of contemporary U.S. society. (6 minutes)

Interview of Margaret M. Chin
Professor Margaret Chin, a sociology professor at the Graduate Center and Hunter College, CUNY, discusses gang activity and Chinese American youth in the Lower East Side. (6 minutes)

The Right to Vend
Set in NYC, Right to Vend describes the struggles of street vendors, a diverse community of hard-working immigrants, people of color and military veterans who served their country. They plan collective actions to change current laws and regulations while raising public awareness about their contribution to the city. (11 minutes)

Here to Stay
This documentary illustrates the effects of gentrification in Manhattan’s Chinatown as an elderly man and fellow tenants in endangered single-room occupancy building await the results of an anti-eviction lawsuit. (7 minutes)

Rising Up: The Alams
Meet the Alams, a Bangladeshi family living in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Mohammed Alam, the father to two young U.S.-born daughters, is one of 13,000 immigrants facing deportation as a consequence of Special Registration, a post-9/11 policy which targeted nationals of Muslim countries. But the Alams are not just victims. Learn how they fight back as members of South Asian community organization DRUM - Desis Rising Up & Moving. (11 minutes)

Work and Respect
Take a walk with the women from Domestic Workers United (DWU), an organization of Caribbean, Latina, and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly care workers in New York who aim to protect and advocate for workers rights across the United States. (10 minutes)

Dastaar: Defending Sikh Identity
This short film looks at the challenges facing the Sikh community in a post-9/11 New York City that erroneously associates the Sikh turban (or dastaar) with terrorism and Islamic extremists.