David Scott FitzGerald
Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92093
Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsFitzGerald’s research aims to understand laws and policies regulating international migration as a total system involving interactions among actors in countries of migrant origin and destination. In his work, he seeks to explain how and why legal norms are diffused, the social origins of policy variation across time and place, and how the application of policy is experienced by actors in daily life. His areas of expertise include international migration, migrant homeland politics, and comparative immigration and nationality law. FitzGerald frequently comments on U.S. and Mexican policy in the U.S. and international media.
SSN Key Findings, June 2014
SSN Basic Facts, September 2012
Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (with David Cook-Martin) (Harvard University Pres, 2014).
Questions the widely held view that in the long run democracy and racism cannot coexist. Shows that democracies were the first countries in the Americas to select immigrants by race, and undemocratic states the first to outlaw discrimination. Through analysis of legal records from twenty-two countries between 1790 and 2010, the authors present a history of the rise and fall of racial selection in the Western Hemisphere.
"Emigration’s Impacts on Mexico: A Sociology of Dissimilation" in How Immigrants Impact their Homelands, edited by Susan Eva Eckstein and Adil Najam (Duke University Press, 2013).
Argues that research focusing exclusively on how different migrant groups in the United States vary in their rates of assimilation misses a more profound story about the growing differences between emigrants and those who stay behind in countries of emigrant origin.
Recession Without Borders: Mexican Migrants Confront the Economic Downturn (edited with Rafael Alarcón and Leah Muse-Orlinoff) (Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, 2011).
Analyzes how the global economic recession beginning in late 2007 affected migration patterns, remittances, and economic survival strategies in a small town in Mexico and among its migrants living in California.
"Liberalism and the Limits of Inclusion: Racialized Preferences in Immigration Laws of the Americas, 1850-2000." (with David Cook-Martín). Journal of Interdisciplinary History 16, no. 1 (2010): 7-25.
Makes the case that against the prevailing wisdom, democratic countries in the Western Hemisphere were leaders in establishing racially-discriminatory laws of immigration and nationality, and laggards in removing those restrictions.
A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration (University of California Press, 2009).
Shows how the Mexican government and Catholic Church in Mexico have attempted to manage mass emigration over the last century and explains the dramatic shifts from policies attempting to dissuade emigration to policies attempting to use emigrants in the United States as a national resource for Mexico.
"Rethinking Emigrant Citizenship" New York University Law Review 81, no. 1 (2006): 90-116.
Analyzes the philosophical and historical sources of efforts to allow citizens abroad to gain a greater voice in their countries of origin.
"Transnationalism in Question" (with Roger Waldinger). American Journal of Sociology 109, no. 5 (2004): 1177-1195.
Argues that the ability of international migrants to politically engage their countries of origin is sharply constricted by the policies of countries of immigration, and that a decline in wars between countries, rather than new technology, is driving greater cross-border connections today.
Media ContributionsFitzGerald’s research has been cited in a wide variety of print and electronic media, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Diego Union-Tribune, the Spanish-language news agency EFE, CBS’s “60 Minutes,” CNN Radio, XM Radio “Politics in the United States,” Radio Free Europe, Al Jazeera, KPBS (National Public Radio affiliate in San Diego), National Geographic TV “Border Wars,” and KTCD (Univision affiliate in San Diego).
David Scott FitzGerald quoted on conditions in shelters for immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border in Jennifer Oldman, "Immigrant Children Find U.S. Support as Some Officials Oppose Help" Bloomberg News, July 23, 2014.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on the flow of undocumented migrants from Mexico into the United States, and the reasons for fluxuation in migration discussed in Bob Ortega, "Border Security Faults May be Result of Poor Analysis," The Arizona Republic, July 20, 2013.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on the effects of Canada's guest worker program discussed in Nick Miroff, "Canada's Guest Worker Program Could Become Model for U.S. Immigration Changes," Washington Post, January 5, 2013.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on the effects of criminal gang activity on Mexicans' attempts to cross the border into the U.S. discussed in The Editors, "The Ebbing Mexican Wave," The Economist, November 24, 2012.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on the rise of “coyotes” and gang violence at patrolled border sites discussed in Edward Helmore, "Young Men in Mexico Say the U.S. No Longer Offers Them a Better Future," The Guardian, April 25, 2012.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on what Mexican migrants know about enforcement and dangers at the border discussed in Paloma Esquivel, "Making the Border Less Enticing to Cross," Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2012.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on the educational aspirations of and opportunities for young people migrating from and around Mexico discussed in Damien Cave, "Migrants’ New Paths Reshaping Latin America," New York Times, January 5, 2012.
David Scott FitzGerald's research on the rising cost of border crossing (conducted at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies) discussed in Damien Cave, "Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North," New York Times, July 6, 2011.
Talks and Briefings
"Immigration and National Security," The Study of the United States Institute on U.S. National Security Policymaking, La Jolla, CA, April 4, 2014.
"How Would Comprehensive Immigration Reform Affect Mexico-U.S. Migration?," Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC, May 30, 2013.
"Immigration and National Security," The Study of the United States Institute on U.S. National Security Policymaking, La Jolla, CA, March 1, 2012.
"The Effects of Migration Control Measures on Unauthorized Mexican Migration to the United States," House Judiciary and Homeland Committee Staff Briefing; Briefing to the Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C., November 1, 2011.
"The Effects of Migration Control Measures on Unauthorized Mexican Migration to the United States," Senate Judiciary Committee Staff Briefing, Washington, D.C., October 4, 2010.