Skrentny

John D. Skrentny

Director, Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research, Co-Director, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, and Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego
Areas of Expertise:
  • Immigration
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Jobs & Workers

About John

Skrentny is an expert in political and legal issues regarding immigration, civil rights, jobs and equal opportunity. He has extensively researched the development of rights for racial minorities, women, the disabled and other groups; the politics of immigration policy in the U.S., Europe and Asia; and (in a new project) the connections between the supply of science and engineering workers in the U.S., the global competition for highly-skilled immigrants and job creation. He has co-authored an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court, addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and provided policy background to the San Diego Democratic Party.

Podcast

Publications

"Obama’s Immigration Reform: The Triumph of Executive Action" (with Jane Lilly López). Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality 2, no. 1 (2013): 62-79.

Examines how President Obama used executive action to secure support from Latino voters despite his inability to deliver comprehensive immigration reform.

"Senate and House Immigration Reform Efforts in the 113th Congress: An Overview," (with Angela S. Garcia, Linda Naval, and Tom K. Wong), Scholars Strategy Network, July 2013.
Offers a side-by-side comparison of Senate and House immigration reform efforts in the 113th Congress.
"Passing Strict Scrutiny: Using Social Science to Design Affirmative Action Programs" (with Clark Cunningham and Glenn Loury). Georgetown Law Journal 90, no. 4 (2002): 835-882.
Analyzes the constitutional law of affirmative action from a comparative perspective, highlighting challenges in designating beneficiaries and showing how other countries have created explicit procedures for determining whom shall be included, while the U.S. has not.
The Minority Rights Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2002).
Presents a comprehensive study of America policy development within a global context. Emphasizes the key role of international politics and the black civil rights movement in the development of the Immigration Act of 1965; the expansion of affirmative action to include women as well as Latinos, Asian Americans and American Indians; bilingual education; Title IX for women’s equality in education; rights for the disabled; and the failure of gays/lesbians and white ethnics to win new rights.
"Are America’s Civil Rights Laws Still Relevant?" Du Bois Review 4, no. 1 (2007): 1-22.
Shows how, in an increasingly diverse America that values racial diversity in a wide range of jobs, but also exploits immigrants in at the bottom of the labor market, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – almost a half-century old – is increasingly distant from workplace practices.
"Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Dynamics of Statutory Entrenchment" (with Micah Gell-Redman). The Yale Law Journal Online 120 (2011): 325-346.
Analyzes the different components of comprehensive immigration reform and shows their varying basis in constitutional and statutory law, highlighting that the repeated failure of border enforcement has not been an impediment to its entrenchment as a strategy for congressional lawmaking.
"Obama’s Immigration Reform: A Tough Sell for a Grand Bargain" in Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama’s First Two Years, edited by Theda Skocpol and Larry Jacobs (Russell Sage Foundation , 2011), 273-320.
Explains the inability of President Obama to pass comprehensive immigration reform, emphasizing the negative cultural baggage of the policy, as well as American institutions and Republican opposition, and suggests possible ways that the “grand bargain” can move forward.
"Japan, the United States, and the Philosophical Bases of Immigration Policy" (with Micah Gell-Redman and Jack Jin Gary Lee). American Behavioral Scientist 56, no. 8 (2012): 995-1007.
Shows how immigration policies are shaped in varying ways by different values and goals, including economic growth, rights protection, and community and cultural preservation.

In the News

John D. Skrentny quoted in Edwin Meese III and Mike Gonzalez, "Trump Can Help Overcome Identity Politics" The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2018.
John D. Skrentny quoted in Sandip Roy, "Another Brick in Donald Trump’s Wall" The Economic Times, February 8, 2018.
John D. Skrentny quoted in Mike Gonzalez, "Trump Administration Strikes a Blow against Identity Politics" The Daily Signal, January 28, 2018.
"Trump Will Lose America Like Pete Wilson Lost California," John D. Skrentny, The Hill, February 6, 2017.
John D. Skrentny quoted on STEM salaries in Tatiana Sanchez, "More Immigrants Pursuing STEM Careers, Report Says" San Diego Union-Tribune, November 9, 2015.
John D. Skrentny quoted on the origins of birthright citizenship in Will Cabaniss, "S.E. Cupp: Only about 30 Other Countries Offer Birthright Citizenship, Making U.S. 'Anomaly'" PolitiFact, August 23, 2015.
John D. Skrentny quoted on understanding the impact of immigration on California, "UC San Diego to Lead Major Project on Immigration" Imperial Valley News, March 15, 2015.
"Equal Opportunity is Over. It’s Time for ‘Racial Realism’," John D. Skrentny, Time Magazine, August 29, 2014.
"Only Minorities Need Apply," John D. Skrentny, New York Times, May 6, 2014.
"Making San Diego an International Hub," John D. Skrentny (with David Scott FitzGerald), U-T San Diego, July 3, 2013.
"Few Nations Give Guarantees like 14th Amendment," John D. Skrentny, Interview with Guy Raz, NPR's All Things Considered, August 14, 2010.
"Immigration Reform: Start with Small Steps," John D. Skrentny, CNN.com, July 15, 2010.
"Immigration Reform: From Distrust to Direction," John D. Skrentny, Congress Blog, The Hill, May 16, 2011.