Gonzalez O’Brien’s main area of research is racial and ethnic politics, with a focus on U.S. immigration policy. Gonzalez O'Brien's other research includes inter-group attitudes and the effect of changes in electoral policies on political participation. Gonzalez O'Brien is the author of two books on immigration policy, Handcuffs and Chain Link: Criminalizing the Undocumented in America and Sanctuary Cities: The Politics of Refuge (w/ Loren Collingwood), as well as numerous articles on immigration policy, political communication, voter turnout, and intergroup attitudes. Gonzalez O’Brien has spoken before a number of audiences, including policymakers, academics, students, and the general public.
In the News
Analyzes the passage of anti-sanctuary policy at the state-level and finds that much of this legislation is based to varying extents on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that brings together conservative lawmakers and representatives of private industry/business.
Examines perceptions of interracial competition in the United States and finds that one of the strongest predictors is perceived in-group competition, which refutes some of the group position literature that argues that competition is driven by the perceived threat outgroups pose to resources.
Examines opposition to sanctuary policies in Texas and finds that these are primarily driven by the size or growth of the Latino population. Suggests that opposition to these policies is driven by racial or immigrant threat instead of fear of crime.
Charts the development and effect of sanctuary city policies, which forbid local officials from inquiring into immigration status, as well as public opinion, media coverage, and the politics of these policies.
Examines that an expansion of drop boxes on voter turnout in Washington State. Finds that being closer to a drop box increases the likelihood of voting.
Examines the historical criminalization of Latino immigration and how legislation passed in the 1920s continues to have repercussions for modern immigration policy. Analyzes the effect that media consumption has on perceptions of immigrant criminality.