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David Cook-Martín

Professor of Sociology, Abu Dhabi Program in Social Research and Public Policy, New York University

About David

Cook-Martín is a political sociologist who studies international migration, race, ethnicity, law, and citizenship in a global field of politics. He has written widely on immigration and nationality policy, ethnicity, and citizenship. In an era of increased global migration, he is particularly interested in the impact of migration and deportation on communities, how past immigration laws shape contemporary policy, new regimes of temporary migration, and the ways that people understand their relationship to their countries of origin, especially in terms of dual or plural citizenship. Cook-Martín is a member of the Migration/Immigration Network for the Social Science History Association and of the International Migration, Latino Sociology, Race, Class and Gender, and Law and Society sections of the American Sociological Association. He also belongs to the American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association. Cook-Martín has been a research consultant on contemporary international migration issues for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cook-Martín is an associate professor of sociology at Grinnell College, where he also serves as director of the Center for International Studies. He has placed students in internships with key immigration attorneys in the state, including with Sonia Parra, an attorney who handled many of the ICE Postville raid cases beginning in 2008.


How Legacies of Racism Persist in U.S. Immigration Policy

  • David Scott FitzGerald

In the News

David Cook-Martín quoted on sanctuary cities by Barbara Rodriguez, "Are Iowa Immigration, Sanctuary Cities Bills Needed?" Des Moines Register, February 26, 2017.
"Trump’s Immigration Order is Bad Foreign Policy," David Cook-Martín (with David Scott FitzGerald), The Conversation, January 29, 2017.
"Why Trump’s Wall with Mexico is So Popular, and Why It Won’t Work," David Cook-Martín, The Conversation, January 24, 2017.
David Cook-Martín quoted on Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., "Four Quotes from the Sixth GOP Presidential Debate, Explained by Experts" The Conversation, January 15, 2016.
"More Mexicans are Leaving the U.S. than Coming across the Border," David Cook-Martín, The Conversation, January 5, 2016.
"The Cost of Obama's Indecision," David Cook-Martín, Talking Points Memo Café, October 3, 2014.
David Cook-Martín quoted on new book, Culling the Masses, by Elias Isquith, "David Brat’s Xenophobic America: The Deeply Disturbing History of American Immigration" Slate, June 12, 2014.
"Secure Borders Hype Gets It Wrong," David Cook-Martín, Huffington Post, April 23, 2013.
David Cook-Martín quoted on Hispanic migration to Iowa by Grant Schulte, "Iowa Population Shifts from Rural to Urban" USA Today, February 17, 2011.
"Iowa’s Census Blues and the Dream Act," David Cook-Martín, Des Moines Register, January 3, 2011.
David Cook-Martín quoted on Arizona’s controversial immigration policy by William McQuillen, "Arizona Will Appeal Ruling on Immigration Law, Governor Says" Bloomberg News, July 28, 2010.
"Alice in Arizona," David Cook-Martín, Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 9, 2010.
David Cook-Martín quoted on on socioeconomic and education levels of Argentinian immigrants by Silvia Struthers, "Argentinos: Amigos, Cultura y Tradiciones" Houston Chronicle, June 18, 2010.
Guest to discuss an immigration policy overhaul on Iowa Public Radio, David Cook-Martín, May 5, 2010.


Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (with David Scott FitzGerald) (Harvard University Press, 2014).
Analyzes legal records from 22 countries between 1790 and 2010 to present a history of the rise and fall of racial selection in the immigration and nationality policies of the Western Hemisphere, demonstrating that democracy and racist policies have coexisted for most of this period, but are not inextricably linked.
The Scramble for Citizens: Dual Nationality and State Competition for Immigrants (Stanford University Press, 2013).
Analyzes immigration and nationality laws in Argentina, Italy, and Spain since the mid-19th century to understand the link between individuals and their countries of origin, demonstrating that in an age of widespread global migration, plural citizenship is more common – and more understandable – than previously believed. Nationality laws are not solely the outcome of a competition among domestic policy interest groups, but rather at key moments have resulted from a scramble among states to affiliate and gain the allegiance of migrants.
"Migration Control" in The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, edited by Immanuel Ness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).
Argues that the capacity to control or legitimately manage the movement of people across borders and the conditions of their permanence within a jurisdiction is a feature of modern state organizations that was accomplished over a long time. Migration control is at an historical peak, but has never meant absolute control over migrants.
"The Problem with Similarity: Ethnic Affinity Migrants in Spain" (with Anahí Viladrich). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 1 (January 2009): 151-170.
Shows that ethnic affinity is not a reliable predictor of assimilation. What makes putative co-ethnics desirable as community members is not what makes them desirable as immigrant workers.
"Rules, Red Tape, and Paperwork: The Archaeology of State Control over Migrants, 1850-1930" Journal of Historical Sociology 21, no. 1 (March 2008): 82-118.
Demonstrates that migration control has been an uneven historical accomplishment of states that faced the dilemmas of making citizens and attracting workers in a context of increased migration flows.
"Soldiers and Wayward Women: Gendered Citizenship, and Migration Policy in Argentina, Italy, and Spain since 1850" Citizenship Studies 10, no. 5 (November 2006): 571-590.
Explores how and with what consequences migration and nationality policies have been gendered. These policies have reflected the dynamics of the political fields in which they have been crafted. In addition, the administrative mechanisms coupled with these laws have operated differently with respect to men and women. The consequences of these laws and mechanisms have persisted even when the letter of the law has ostensibly become gender neutral.