Profile picture for user wong.tom

Tom K. Wong

Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
Chapter Member: San Diego SSN, California SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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. 


No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Opinion: "Opinion: Surveys Show DACA Recipients Benefit From Better Financial Security, Labor Outcomes," Tom K. Wong, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 17, 2023.
Interviewed in "Bonus Podcast: Stop Calling It a Surge," Voice of San Diego, March 30, 2021.
Opinion: "The Migrant ‘Surge’ at the U.S. Southern Border Is Actually a Predictable Pattern," Tom K. Wong (with Gabriel De Roche and Jesus Rojas Venzor), The Washington Post, March 25, 2021.
Research discussed by Obed Manuel, in "She Didn’t Apply for DACA. Now She and Thousands of Dreamers are Heading toward Limbo," Dallas News, January 27, 2019.
Research discussed by Griselda Zetino, in "DACA Recipients Making Significant Contributions to National Economy," KStar, August 17, 2018.
Research discussed by Patricia Guadalupe, in "DACA is Really Helping Young Immigrants. But Are They Too Afraid, Unsure to Renew?," MSNBC, August 16, 2018.
Quoted by Michael Smolens in "Why It Seems Like Jerry Brown is Running for Office — in Your Town," The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 29, 2018.
Guest on KPBS Midday, April 26, 2018.
Quoted by Anne Belden in "A Piece of Paper is Controlling My Students’ Lives," HuffPost, March 1, 2018.
Quoted by in "What We Know about Who is Enrolled in DACA," WTVA, January 25, 2018.
Quoted by Maya Srikrishnan in "Border Report: Haitian Community Describes Growing Fear and Uncertainty," Voice of San Diego, November 27, 2017.
Quoted by Alex Shephard in "Anti-Sanctuary Armies," The Nation, November 14, 2017.
Research discussed by Arielle Drehen, in "Rep. Bomgar, Businessmen: DACA Has 'Huge Economic Benefit'," Jackson Free Press, October 5, 2017.
Quoted by Meghan Holmes in "Under Threat of Deportation, Dreamers Speak Out," Louisiana Weekly, September 18, 2017.
Research discussed by Isabel Fattal, in "What DACA's End Could Mean for Colleges," The Atlantic, September 18, 2017.
Quoted by Mary Tuma in "Texas Cities Get Their Day in Court," The Austin Chronicle, June 30, 2017.
Guest on North Carolina Public Radio, February 16, 2017.
Research discussed by Kate Morrissey, in "Sanctuary Counties Have Lower Crime, Stronger Economies," San Diego Union-Tribune, January 27, 2017.
Research discussed by Christopher Ingraham, in "Trump Says Sanctuary Cities are Hotbeds of Crime. Data Say the Opposite.," The Washington Post, January 27, 2017.
Quoted by Kate Morrissey in "Accused of Being an Immigrant 'Sanctuary,' San Diego Could Lose Funding under Trump," San Diego Union-Tribune, November 28, 2016.
Quoted by Leonard Novarro in "DACA Can Spell Hope for Many Undocumented Immigrants," Times of San Diego, October 25, 2016.
Research discussed by Kate Morrissey, in "Study Finds Positive Economic Impact from Deferred Action Program," San Diego Union-Tribune, October 18, 2016.
Quoted by Dan Moffett in "Survey Proves Success of Obama's DACA Program," About News, September 27, 2015.
Guest on KPBS, July 9, 2015.
Interviewed in "Immigration Reform Predictions are Mathematical and Personal," Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2013.
Research discussed by Staff Writers, in "Reforma Migratoria en la Cámara de Representantes," Univision Noticias, July 8, 2013.
Research discussed by Eric Lipton and Julia Preston, in "As U.S. Plugs Border in Arizona, Crossings Shifts to South Texas," New York Times, June 16, 2013.
Interviewed in "Forecast: If Voted on Today, Immigration Reform Would Fail House," Public Insight Network’s Fronteras, May 21, 2013.
Interviewed in "Predicting How Congress Will Vote on Immigration Reform," KPCC’s Take Two, May 20, 2013.
Interviewed in "Tom K. Wong on Life as an Undocumented Youth," KPBS’s Hey Neighbor!, January 9, 2013.
Opinion: "Obama’s Immigration Move Bold, But Not Enough," Tom K. Wong, San Diego Union Tribune, June 16, 2012.


"The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity" (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Analyzes immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005.

"Do Family Separation and Detention Deter Immigration?,"

Shows that both family detention and family separation policies have not deterred families from coming to the United States in the past—and are unlikely to do so in the future.

, Center for American Progress, July 24, 2018.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.