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Lacomba's research focuses on immigration to the United States and Spain. Her areas of expertise include international migration, social movements, law and society, ethnicity, identity, and language. Her work has investigated comparatively how immigrants engaged in political organizations navigate their environment to improve policy by voicing their demands to governments. As member of the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP), she is analyzing the effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program on immigrants who arrived as undocumented children to the United States. Her research has been published in the journals Ethnicities, Social Politics, and Ethnic and Racial Studies along with a book chapter with Lynne Reinner Publishers. Lacomba has been engaged in immigrant community organizations both conducting research and providing language (Spanish-English) services.
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Demonstrates that in addition to differences in the political opportunity structures in New York City and Madrid, there are at least two additional contextual differences shaping the ways in which Ecuadorian immigrants participating in this study mobilize. Mobilization is shaped by the presence or absence of previous immigration cohorts and by linguistic differences. The findings reveal the value of undertaking comparative case analysis to shed light on immigrant collective political engagement.
Analyzes intersection of gender, migration, and political engagement in Madrid, building on scholarship on migration and gender in the United States. By comparing the political practices of first generation Ecuadorian men and women in New York City and Madrid, the author demonstrates that contextual differences in these cities, such as immigration law and linguistic characteristics, produced different paths for immigrant political participation with respect to gender: a divergent one in New York City, and convergent one in Madrid.
Presents how the engagement of Ecuadorian political parties in the host societies heightens distrust among the participants in this study, inhibiting their organization at the ethno-national level. Argues that as a result, participants find venues for engagement outside of their nationality group.
Studies how the U.S. economic crisis that erupted in 2007 has affected flows of Mexican migrants to and from the United States by focusing on the Tunkás, a migrant-sending community in rural Yucatán and its satellite communities in southern California.