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Els de Graauw

Associate Professor of Political Science, Baruch College, City University of New York

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About Els

de Graauw's research interests include 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 Immigrants 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. de Graauw earned her PhD 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.

Want to learn more? Check out de Graauw's webpage here


Helping the Growing Ranks of Poor Immigrants Living in America's Suburbs

  • Shannon Gleeson
  • Irene Bloemraad

In the News

Els de Graauw quoted on President Trump's inaccurate statement that there is a California town where undocumented immigrants took over the town council by Peter Baker and Linda Qiu, "Inside What Even an Ally Calls Trump's 'Reality Distortion Field'" The New York Times, October 31, 2018.
Els de Graauw quoted on affordable housing when she was living in a "tiny house" in Berkeley while doing research in the California Bay Area. by Richard Scheinin, "Affordable Housing 101: Why Not Build More Granny Units?" The Mercury News, July 26, 2016.
"Municipal Card Programs in the United States," Els de Graauw, Interview with Henry Cooper, KPFT 90.1, March 24, 2015.
Els de Graauw quoted on San Francisco’s 2010 noncitizen voting measure, "Why Did Prop. D Fail?" Mission Local, November 12, 2010.


"The Illegality Trap: The Politics of Immigration and the Lens of Illegality" (with Michael Jones-Correa). Dædalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 142, no. 3 (2013): 185-198.
Examines how the focus on undocumented immigration in contemporary immigration debates has serious negative consequences for both U.S. immigration policy and immigrants, including an overwhelming emphasis on enforcement; legislative gridlock and the failure of comprehensive immigration reform; constitutional conflict resulting from tensions between national, state, and local approaches to dealing with undocumented immigration; and the absence of federal policies addressing immigrant integration.
"Funding Immigrant Organizations: Suburban Free-Riding and Local Civic Presence" (with Irene Bloemraad and Shannon Gleeson). American Journal of Sociology 119, no. 1 (2013).
Identifies, through an examination of municipal public funding for community-based organizations that serve disadvantaged immigrants in four cities in the Bay Area region of Northern California, the phenomenon of suburban free-riding where suburban officials rely on central city resources to serve immigrants, but do not build and fund partnerships with immigrant organizations in their own jurisdictions.