Wong

Tom K. Wong

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
Areas of Expertise:
  • Social Movements
  • Immigration
  • Race & Ethnicity

About Tom

Wong is an associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego and recently served as an advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Obama administration. He is also Director of the International Migration Studies Program minor.  Wong's research focuses on the politics of immigration, citizenship, and migrant "illegality." As these issues have far-reaching implications, his work also explores the links between immigration, race and ethnicity, and the politics of identity.

His first book, Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control (Stanford University Press, 2015), analyzes the immigration control policies of twenty-five Western immigrant-receiving democracies. In analyzing over 30,000 roll call votes on immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005, his second book, The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity (Oxford University Press, 2016), represents the most comprehensive analysis to date on the contemporary politics of immigration in the United States.

Wong's research has been used by policymakers both in the U.S. and in Mexico, as well as by organizations that serve immigrant communities. Wong and his work has been covered by ABC News/Univision, Fusion, NPR, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Yahoo News, and by Univision in Mexico.

He is also on the leadership committee of the California Immigrant Policy Center, the board of the New American Leaders Project, and recently served on the advisory council of Unbound Philanthropy. Wong also consults on campaigns and elections, specializing in mobilizing low-propensity voters of color and immigrant communities. 

Podcast

Publications

"Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program’s Impact," National Immigration Law Center, July 2015.
Analyzes the economic and educational outcomes of DACA recipients.
"Statistical Analysis Shows that Violence, Not Deferred Action, is Behind the Surge of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Border," Center for American Progress, 2014.
Presents statistical analysis indicating that violence, not deferred action, is behind the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border.
"Does Where I Live Affect Whether I Apply? The Contextual Determinants of Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)" (with Angela Garcia). International Migration Review (2015).
Investigates the factors that help or hinder undocumented youth in applying to DACA. Argues that more immigrant-serving organizations in a state translate into more applications, that DACA implementation rates are not statistically significantly lower in states with hostile policy climates, and that socioeconomic factors are most significantly related to DACA applications.
The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Analyzes immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005.

"Senate and House Immigration Reform Efforts in the 113th Congress: An Overview," (with Angela S. Garcia, Linda Naval, and John D. Skrentny), Scholars Strategy Network, July 2013.
Offers a side-by-side comparison of Senate and House immigration reform efforts in the 113th Congress.
"Nation of Immigrants or Deportation Nation? Analyzing Deportations and Returns in the United States, 1892-2010" in The Nation and Its Peoples: Citizens, Denizens, and Migrants, edited by Shannon Gleeson and John Park (University of California Press, 2014).
Argues that a closer look at the historical record of immigration and the enforcement of U.S. immigration policies makes clear that while we have long been a country of immigration, we have also been a tenacious country of deportation and exclusion. After a historical overview of early U.S. immigration policies and their enforcement provisions, I analyze trends in deportation and the political and economic determinants of these trends from 1892-2010.
Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control (Stanford University Press, 2015).
Examines the political determinants of immigration control policies across 25 immigrant-receiving democracies over the first decade of the new century.

In the News

Tom K. Wong quoted , "What We Know about Who is Enrolled in DACA" WTVA, January 25, 2018.
Tom K. Wong quoted in Anne Belden, "A Piece of Paper is Controlling My Students’ Lives" HuffPost, March 1, 2018.
Tom K. Wong quoted on recipients of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in Maya Srikrishnan, "Border Report: Haitian Community Describes Growing Fear and Uncertainty" Voice of San Diego, November 27, 2017.
Tom K. Wong quoted on sanctuary cities being safer than non-sanctuary cities in Alex Shephard, "Anti-Sanctuary Armies" The Nation, November 14, 2017.
Tom K. Wong's research on Arielle DrehenTom K. Wong, "Rep. Bomgar, Businessmen: DACA Has 'Huge Economic Benefit'," Jackson Free Press, October 5, 2017.
Tom K. Wong quoted in Meghan Holmes, "Under Threat of Deportation, Dreamers Speak Out" Louisiana Weekly, September 18, 2017.
Tom K. Wong's research on DACA recipients losing work permits discussed in Isabel FattalTom K. Wong, "What DACA's End Could Mean for Colleges," The Atlantic, September 18, 2017.
Tom K. Wong quoted on he health and social damage the threat of SB 4 and ICE raids have already caused Austin in Mary Tuma, "Texas Cities Get Their Day in Court" The Austin Chronicle, June 30, 2017.
on North Carolina Public Radio, Tom K. Wong, February 16, 2017.
Tom K. Wong's research on crime in sanctuary counties discussed in Christopher IngrahamTom K. Wong, "Trump Says Sanctuary Cities are Hotbeds of Crime. Data Say the Opposite.," The Washington Post, January 27, 2017.
Tom K. Wong's research on crime in sanctuary counties discussed in Kate MorrisseyTom K. Wong, "Sanctuary Counties Have Lower Crime, Stronger Economies," San Diego Union-Tribune, January 27, 2017.
Tom K. Wong quoted on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Kate Morrissey, "Accused of Being an Immigrant 'Sanctuary,' San Diego Could Lose Funding under Trump" San Diego Union-Tribune, November 28, 2016.
Tom K. Wong's research on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals discussed in Kate MorrisseyTom K. Wong, "Study Finds Positive Economic Impact from Deferred Action Program," San Diego Union-Tribune, October 18, 2016.
Tom K. Wong quoted on economic benefits for DACA recipients in Elena Shore, "Ahead of Election Day, Immigrants Urged to Apply for DACA" New America Media, October 27, 2016.
Tom K. Wong quoted on DACA in Leonard Novarro, "DACA Can Spell Hope for Many Undocumented Immigrants" Times of San Diego, October 25, 2016.
Tom K. Wong quoted on DACA recipients in Dan Moffett, "Survey Proves Success of Obama's DACA Program" About News, September 27, 2015.
Guest to discuss how DACA recipients are getting better jobs, earning higher wages and going to college. on KPBS, Tom K. Wong, July 9, 2015.
"Immigration Reform Predictions are Mathematical and Personal," Tom K. Wong, Interview with Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2013.
Tom K. Wong's research on on how the Senate will vote on immigration reform discussed in Staff WritersTom K. Wong, "Reforma Migratoria en la Cámara de Representantes," Univision Noticias, July 8, 2013.
Tom K. Wong's research on reasons for recent surges in the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border discussed in Eric Lipton and Julia PrestonTom K. Wong, "As U.S. Plugs Border in Arizona, Crossings Shifts to South Texas," New York Times, June 16, 2013.
"Path to 218: Why One Political Scientist is Skeptical the House Will Get the Votes to Pass Immigration Reform," Tom K. Wong, Interview with Jim Avila, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps, ABC News' "Power Players", July 9, 2013.
"Obama’s Immigration Move Bold, But Not Enough," Tom K. Wong, San Diego Union Tribune, June 16, 2012.
"Tom K. Wong on Life as an Undocumented Youth," Tom K. Wong, Interview with Monica Medina, KPBS’s Hey Neighbor!, January 9, 2013.
"Predicting How Congress Will Vote on Immigration Reform," Tom K. Wong, Interview with A. Martínez, KPCC’s Take Two, May 20, 2013.
"Forecast: If Voted on Today, Immigration Reform Would Fail House," Tom K. Wong, Interview with John Rosman, Public Insight Network’s Fronteras, May 21, 2013.