News & Events

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Els de Graauw: Taking Integration Matters Into Their Own Hands: City Immigrant Affairs Offices in the United States

27 February 2019 , Geography Dept., room F4.66 (VUB - Pleinlaan 2, BE-1050 Brussels, Building F) from 12.00h to 13.30h

Abstract of Presentation:

Immigrant integration is a pivotal challenge to American democracy. In the long absence of a U.S. federal integration program, Professor de Graauw discusses the recent surge in the number of city immigrant affairs offices that are taking local control of immigrant integration dynamics across the country. She discusses how these offices were created and institutionalized and what they do. She also analyzes how we can understand these offices’ limits and accomplishments in terms of changed local politics and policies, evolving relationships with federal officials and civil society actors, achieving integration benchmarks, and building community capacities. In particular, she focuses on how local context—as measured by partisanship, demographics, history of immigration, and the infrastructure of civil society organizations—have influenced the institutional development, policy outputs, and community- and coalition-building capacities of city immigrant affairs offices. In her presentation, Professor de Graauw draws on interview material from in-depth case studies of the immigrant affairs offices in New York City, Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, and Detroit, five large cities representing a range of immigrant destinations and receiving contexts.

Bio speaker:

Els de Graauw is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Baruch College, the City University of New York, and currently a visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam. She is interested in immigration, civil society organizations, urban politics, government bureaucracies, and public policy, with a focus on understanding how governmental and nongovernmental organizations build institutional capacity for immigrant integration and representation. Her award-winning book Making Immigrant Rights Real: Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco (Cornell University Press, 2016) analyzes the role of nonprofit organizations in advocating for immigrant integration policies in San Francisco, with a focus on immigrant language access, labor rights, and municipal ID cards.  She is working on her second book, a large comparative study of city immigrant affairs offices in the United States.  She has also been collaborating on a National Science Foundation-funded study of the implementation of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Greater Houston Area, and the New York City Metro Area.  Els earned her Ph.D. degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and she has been a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Cornell University.