Posts

LA Social Science is proud to present four research papers written by UCLA students in their Winter 2021 Sociology course, “Immigration and the Media,” taught by Dr. Cecilia Menjivar. Dr. Menjivar’s introduction, excerpts of the students’ excellent papers, corresponding download links, and short bios of the twelve amazing UCLA students are included below.

Introduction by Professor Cecilia Menjivar:

I have been teaching this class, “Immigration and the Media” in the Department of Sociology at UCLA for the past three years, with the goal of sharpening my students’ critical skills by immersing them in the systematic examination of the role of media in immigration debates. Through a deep reading of research produced by sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, communication studies scholars, and historians, we examine how immigration has come to be a ‘hot button’ issue; whether this has been the case historically; what role does the social context play; how migration crises are constructed; the link between media depictions of immigrants and policy decisions; how opinions about immigrant groups and immigration are formed; and what consequences all this has for immigrants, for the public, and US society in general. The class follows a seminar format and active participation is required. In addition, students have a series of essays, class presentations of research, and other assignments to complete.

I had always taught this 3-hour per week class in person, but with our switch to remote teaching due to the pandemic, I taught this class through Zoom in the Winter 2021 quarter. This seminar has always been dynamic; students usually engage in lively, respectful discussions. I was a bit concerned that I would lose this critical component of the class in a virtual format. I needed to find a way to create a sense of connection for the students when everyone was in a different physical location, not anchored in place. So I decided to have them work in small groups for a final project where they could put to use the material they were learning in class. This was the first time in teaching this class when I would have group work for the final project. It was a resounding success. I have been blown away by the students’ collaborative spirit, dedication to produce the best research projects under difficult circumstances, and the novel ideas they came up with for their research projects. The papers showcased here are the students’ final projects. Under my direction, each team produced original research; designed their studies; used analytical frameworks learned in class in their work; drew from the relevant literature in the field to inform the questions they asked and to illuminate their findings; collected and analyzed original data from print and broadcast media; and contributed new knowledge to our understandings of the connections among media depictions, policy climate, politics, and immigration debates.

My Sociology 191 class on “Immigration and the Media” deserve a huge congratulations for their effort, diligence, and for the research they produced. I am extremely proud and applaud each one of them for their perseverance and dedication, especially in the face of many pandemic-related challenges.

I would like to extend a big thanks to Dean Darnell Hunt, Drs. Ana-Christina Ramón and Celia Lacayo for the wonderful opportunity to publish my students’ papers on the LA Social Science website.

EXCERPTS AND LINKS TO FULL RESEARCH PAPERS:

The Myth Of The Criminal Alien: Newspaper Media

by Pedro Henrique Borges, Julaina Juarez and Andres Torres

The media’s framing of Latin/Central American immigration through forced removal centers a criminalized lens that perpetuates historically patterned processes of criminalization that violently impact the lived experiences of immigrants in the U.S. As highlighted in the patterns of media framing demonstrated throughout the six passages analyzed in this piece followed by two randomized passages from each The Hill, CNN, and FOX News, traditional mass media commonly frames immigration through crime while diversifying its strategies in each of the newspapers analyzed in this piece.

To read this research paper, click HERE.

A Comparison of Spanish and English Broadcast News: The Portrayal of Immigration During the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle 

By Tiffany Nguyen, Stephanie Pitassi, Veronica De Santos Quezada and Vanessa Valdez Cruz

In the analysis of ABC News, terms such as ”illegal,” ”alien,” or “criminal” did not reoccur in the negative articles as they did in most of the Univision articles. Even the 6 negative portrayals that we found were not framed as strongly as some of the Univision media pieces, or even other outlets such as Fox News, where the “protection and prevention,” “economic strain,” and/or “Latino threat” frame/narrative are repeatedly utilized. Unlike ABC news portrayal of immigrants as victims of violent hate-crimes and mistreatment by ICE through a human interest frame, Univision News portrayed ICE — through a number of quotes and tweets — as a safety force to end “illegal” immigration and eliminate sanctuary cities nearing the November 2020 election. Though they did provide tips and information on what to do if encountering ICE, the quotes and tweets were never conceptualized.

To read this research paper, click HERE.

Immigration in Late Night Talk Shows: A Qualitative Analysis 

By Federico Trudu, Elena Usui, Swan Ye Htut

Our findings demonstrate that across more “political” (“The Daily Show” and “The Late Show”) and less “political” (“The Tonight Show”) late night talk shows, there is a common thread of negative associations with immigrants and issues of immigration, particularly reinforcing crime and threat narratives on specific groups of immigrants, such as unauthorized ones. However, it is important to note that the quantity of material that covered immigration was higher in the more “political” shows, thus giving us insight about the role played by political comedy in setting the agenda for immigration.

To read this research paper, click HERE.

The Rise of the Myths of Immigration Due to Increased Coverage of Negative Depictions of Immigrants in the Media During Trump’s Presidency

By Camille Lent and Katelyn King

Former President Trump’s potent, non-factual, negative statements about immigration fueled a wave of anti-immigration framing that spread even to more neutral and liberal news sources over the years of his presidency. The results of our research show that even non-conservative media sources use language that is consistent with anti-immigration sentiments. However, in general there are more subtle terms used in both neutral and liberal sources compared to blatantly negative terms.

To read this research paper, click HERE.

AUTHOR BIOS (in alphabetical order):

Pedro Henrique Borges:

Pedro Henrique Borges is a first-generation immigrant from São Paulo, Brazil. He completed a BA in Sociology with full honors through the McNair Scholars initiative followed by the Sociology Honors program. Pedro is currently completing his MA in Latin American Studies as a Departmental Scholar. In the future, Pedro plans to briefly transition away from academia into market-based research, with hopes of pursuing a PhD in Sociology.

 

Veronica De Santos Quezada

Veronica De Santos Quezada is a current undergraduate student of Sociology with a Spanish minor at the University of California Los Angeles. Her research interests rest under the lens of Critical Race Theory with a focus on gender rights.

Twitter: @dsantosveronica

 

 

Julaina Juarez

Julaina Juarez is a San Bernardino native, finishing her fourth year at UCLA with a major in Sociology and a double minor in Chicanx and Central American Studies and Education. She plans to become a high school counselor, supporting communities of color through a social justice and abolitionist centered approach, and hopes to one day pursue her doctoral degree.

Katelyn King

My major is Pre-International Development, and I am a third-year junior student at UCLA. I am fascinated by the global world, economy, and politics. So, I am excited to see where that will take me in the future.

Camille Lent

My name is Camille Lent, and I am a second-year Sociology major studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. After graduation, I plan on continuing my education by applying to law school, with an emphasis in social justice law and human rights.

 

 

 

Tiffany Nguyen

Tiffany Nguyen is a third-year transfer student at UCLA studying Sociology and Public Affairs. As a student in a family of refugees, she hopes to pursue a career in immigration research.

 

 

Stephanie Pitassi

As a fourth-year Global Studies student, I’m about to graduate in the next two months! I plan to take a year off and do some volunteer work, hopefully internationally, and spend some time doing things I love that I haven’t been able to do much of the past 4 years. After my gap year, I plan to go to law school or pursue a masters degree abroad in international relations. I have a year to decide, and to let the pandemic quiet down, and I’m eager to see what the future holds.

 

 

Andres Torres

My name is Andres Torres, and I am a 3rd-year Sociology major on a pre-med track. I hope to serve in an underserved community like my own in the future.

 

 

Federico Trudu

My name is Federico Trudu. I am a fourth year international student from Italy. I am majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Migration Studies. I seek to continue my studies on migration in graduate school.

 

 

 

 

Elena Usui

Elena Usui is a graduating fourth-year student at UCLA, studying Global Studies and Gender Studies. She hopes to work in international human rights law or policy in order to expand sex education and resource accessibility to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

 

 

 

 

Vanessa Valdez Cruz

Vanessa Valdez Cruz is a second-year transfer student from East Los Angeles College. She will be graduating from UCLA in summer 2021 with a major in sociology and double minor in Chicana/o  and Central American Studies and Education Studies. Vanessa is currently conducting research that critiques and analyzes education policy and social factors that shape the experiences of students of color. She will be applying to graduate school to become a policy maker and continue advocating for and centering communities of color.

Twitter: @__vannne

Swan Ye Htut

My name is Swan Ye Htut, and I am a 4th-year Global Studies and Sociology double-major. Currently, I am working on a Global Studies senior thesis on how the 2019-2020 Hong Kong protests affected the local, national, and global identities of youth. I hope to pursue a PhD in Sociology and become a university professor.

 

 

 

LA Social Science presents a new video abstract series that provides a summary or preview of current academic research that you can watch a UCLA scholar explain in a few minutes. Our inaugural episode features Dr. Laura C. Chávez-Moreno, Postdoctoral Scholar at the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, who will join the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o & Central American Studies Department as an Assistant Professor in July 2021.

Journal Abstract:

U.S. teacher education has largely overlooked a sociopolitical-historical context that affects both immigrants and nonimmigrants: American empire. To address the pressing need for teacher education to acknowledge U.S. imperialism, the author stages an argument in three parts. First, she argues that the field should account for empire and its impact on immigrants, and suggests conceptualizing immigrants within a nuanced framework of white supremacy. Next, she relates her own immigrant counternarrative to expose masternarratives that operate against immigrants. By sharing her journey toward understanding imperialism and her own positionality, she also contributes an immigrant perspective to the field. Third, the author introduces the concept of imperial privilege, inviting the field to recognize and challenge masternarratives. The author concludes by inviting readers to historicize U.S. imperialism in their research and practice, and thus embrace more humanizing narratives. While the argument focuses on the United States, it also applies broadly to other high-income imperialist countries.

To learn more, check out her article, “U.S. empire and an immigrant’s counternarrative: Conceptualizing imperial privilege,” that was recently published in Vol 72, Issue 2, 2021 of the Journal of Teacher Education, which is one of the top high-impact journals in the field of education.

 

Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

The current state of relations between multiple arms of law enforcement and the similarities and differences between police brutality aimed at Latinos and African Americans is discussed with Dr. Amada Armenta, UCLA assistant professor in Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) faculty expert. She also addresses points of solidarity between both groups.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Introduction

0:35 – Major changes to immigration enforcement

3:12 – How do local law enforcement agencies participate in immigration enforcement?

8:08 – What is the relationship like between local police and Latina/o immigrant communities?

14:10 – How are the relationships similar and different from African Americans’ experiences with police brutality? Detention/Deportation?

17:45 – Closing remarks

To learn more, check out Dr. Armenta’s book, Protect, Serve, and Deport The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement.

 

Subscribe to L.A. Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

UCLA Associate Professor Chris Zepeda-Millán demonstrates most Americans would support immigrant child detainees being released and having access to medical care. Dr. Zepeda-Millán’s data illustrates that the current administration’s immigration policies regarding child detainees are not supported by public opinion. He further notes this can be a bipartisan issue elected officials can rally around in order to provide humanity and aid to child detainees.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Intro

0:46 – How has Covid-19 impacted incarcerated populations and immigrant detention centers?

4:41 – What does your data reveal in terms of public support for treating and releasing child detainees? Implications?

7:23 – If there is an overwhelming amount of support to protect and release child detainees why is the current administration choosing not to?

To learn more about Dr. Chris Zepeda-Millán‘s forthcoming book, Walls, Cages, and Family Separation: Race and Immigration Policy in the Trump Era (under contract with Cambridge University Press) with Sophia Jordán Wallace (University of Washington), check out a recent brief by the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) that draws on portions of the book. Titled “COVID-19 & Migrant Child Detainees: Releasing & Treating Children in Detention” (May 2020), the brief provides evidence of public support for releasing child detainees during the coronavirus pandemic, noting the poll took place before COVID-19 began. It also provides “straightforward, bipartisan, and implementable” policy recommendations. To read the full brief, click HERE.

 

Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA social science experts in upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

UCLA Law Professor, NYTimes op-ed author, and Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) Faculty Expert Jennifer Chacón gives a comprehensive overview of COVID-19 and current immigration laws and policies. She describes the negative effects an immigration ban can have on the economy and public health. She also explains that the current administration uses COVID-19 to further implement anti-immigrant policies. Read The New York Times op-ed “No Mr. President Your Immigration Powers Are Not Unlimited” by Jennifer Chacón and Erwin Chemerinsky HERE.

Interview Chapters:

0:53 – Effects of immigration freeze

7:30 – Immigration ban effects on the economy/jobs

9:43 – Effect on asylum process and public health

12:10 – Final thoughts, legal filings, upcoming developments, DACA

 

Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA social science experts in upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

UCLA alum Karina Ramos (’99) an attorney at Immigrant Defenders Law Center represents many immigrant children seeking asylum. She discusses the need for more attorneys to advocate for children’s rights. With COVID-19, the U.S. immigration courts have mostly halted the timeline for their proceedings, significantly delaying progress, often with devastating consequences for the children. 

Interview Chapters:

0:50 – What type of work does Immigrant Defenders Law Center do?

1:28 – What’s your role?

2:36 – Legal Representation & Advocacy for Immigrant Children

5:39 – Specific Cases (“Alex”)

11:07 – Impact of COVID-19 on Court Cases and Children’s Future

15:50 – Support for Child Asylum Seekers

 

Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA social science experts in upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times featured three scholars from UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences and their outstanding work in Central American studies. The Los Angeles Times article highlights the conference that Professors Cecilia Menjívar (Sociology), Leisy Abrego (Chicana and Chicano and Central American Studies), and Rubén Hernández-León (Sociology) organized earlier this year regarding Central American migration.

L.A. Social Science would like to congratulate them on a successful conference that brought together attendees from UCLA, other California campuses, and the Los Angeles community to discuss and share their research in Central American studies. Read the complete article, HERE.

By UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI)

In their 5th Annual Latinx Criminal Justice Convening, LatinoJustice PRLDEF partnered with Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network brought local and national organizations to Brownsville, TX to engage in conversation about Latinos in the criminal justice and immigration systems.

This two-day encuentro was intended to create a space for Latino leaders, activists, academics and impacted community members to explore the connection to the criminal justice and immigration systems across the United States while strategizing new efforts for a more inclusive movement that does not leave anyone behind.

Latino Justice PRLEF’s Jorge Renaud welcoming attendees and introducing the convening and its goals.

“It’s important to be collaborating [and to] bring that intersectionality in this space,” said Christina Patiño Houel, Network Weaver for RGV Equal Voice Network. Intersectionality and inclusivity were interwoven throughout the convening, being cognizant of the ways different structural oppressions work in tandem to affect the most vulnerable in our communities, in order to combat these injustices effectively. An example was how interpreters established a multilingual culture, ensuring Spanish and English-only speakers communicated smoothly with each other, as the organizers understood that language barriers hinder those trying to combat the injustices within the justice system and also understood that interpretation and translation were necessary since the event was a community-centered multi-generational convening. This emphasis was also felt when formerly-incarcerated individuals were welcomed home for the first time, integrating a healing component for all participants.

The discussions began by exploring how criminality, incarceration, immigration and the war on drugs have all played a role in the current relationship between the Latinx community and the criminal justice system. The lack of data on this community was highlighted by LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s president, Juan Cartagena, when he discussed how every system “affects us and we don’t even know how… we’re invisible.” He explained how even as the largest ethnic minority in the country, the system could not answer simple questions as to how many Latinxs are arrested. This point was underscored by Dr. Edward Vargas’, from Arizona State University, urgency for not only the need for data but accurate data. For example, polls said that 34% of Latinos had voted for Trump in Texas, but this number was proven to be wrong. When the precinct data was scraped, the actual number was 16%.

ACLU’s National Campaign Strategist, Jessica Sandoval; Texas Criminal Justice Coalition’s Policy Analyst Jose Flores; and Youth Justice Coalition’s Anthony Robles talking speaking on the best strategies to end youth solitary confinement.

Community members highlighted their work on the ground to end collaboration between the state and local police departments with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the states of Texas and Georgia, jail closure and the prevention of a new jail in Los Angeles, and litigation. Crimmigration was the focal point of these conversations, where attorneys explained the importance of litigation and the need for patience in both the length of the process and the lack of social justice lawyers.

The conversation zeroed in on experts as they engaged in fishbowl conversations, discussing the development of gang databases and its impact on the immigrant community, the fight towards ending youth solitary, and the impact of these efforts on a national level.

Day one came to a close with the screening of Bad Hombres: From Colonization to Criminalization by award-winning filmmaker Carlos Sandoval, with attendees expressing their impressions to the documentary.

The second day was reserved for breakout sessions encouraging collaboration and the exchange of best practices in order to advance efforts and find resources in the community. Accountability partners were found and followed-up conversations were scheduled to further collaborate as a group.

“Learning more about crimmigration and its impact on the Latinx community has been eye-opening,” noted second-year UCLA Luskin student María Morales who attended the convening.  “It was an honor being able to attend this convening and feel such passion and dedication in the room.”

Attendees identifying action steps to continue collaboration among the organizations present.

October 24, 2018

UCLA Professor Matt Barreto wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times titled “Even for Trump, There Is Such a Thing as Too Far” that discusses election research with a focus on immigration.  He writes:

“Baseless fear-mongering is not what makes America great. Standing up for an inclusive and welcoming society sends a message to immigrant and minority voters that candidates are on their side — and this can lead to greater voter turnout.”

To read the rest of the informative piece, click HERE.

By George Chacon

Dream Resource Center Project Manager, UCLA Labor Center

When people are allowed to tell their own stories, they can provide insight into and connection with groups of people we may not ordinarily interact with. But when other people tell those stories, they can be used to paint a negative and unfair picture. No one has done this more, and with more disregard for facts and hatred toward the immigrant community, than Donald Trump. Not a week goes by where he does not say something inflammatory about immigrants, and his supporters echo those stories. Thankfully, working for the UCLA Labor Center’s Dream Resource Center (DRC) has provided me with opportunities to hear positive stories and experiences from my coworkers and community partners. Some of these stories are featured in the DRC’s Undocumented Stories exhibit, hosted by the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach.

MOLAA will be showcasing Undocumented Stories, a multimedia exhibit that lifts up the personal stories and experiences of immigrant youth, from August 4 to September 9. Undocumented Stories was curated by UCLA students, staff from the UCLA Labor Center and the DRC, and SolArt Media & Design. It includes personal stories, video, and photographs of unaccompanied minors and undocumented youth who built a movement to change US policies on access to higher education, immigration, and deportation. The exhibit aims to humanize the undocumented immigrant experience, empower the immigrant community, and incite critical conversations about the future of US immigration law and policy. Undocumented Stories has traveled to various locations around the country, including Washington, DC, and Boston through a partnership with the National Education Association.

The exhibit features the stories of people like Set Rongkilyo, who does communications for the ICE Out of LA coalition. Set and his family migrated to the United States with the hope of naturalizing their status through an employer. Unfortunately, Set’s family could not fulfill the extensive requirements, became undocumented, and were eventually separated. Set’s father had to return to the Philippines to care for his sick mother and will have great difficulty ever returning to the United States because of his undocumented status.

Then there’s Diego Sepulveda, currently the director of the DRC. I met Diego in 2009 when I was an undergraduate student at UCLA, and I remember how fearless and persistent he was as an undocumented student. The exhibit chronicles his experience as a transfer student attending UCLA and his advocacy efforts in LGBTQ and environmental issues.

My experience working at the DRC and with MOLAA has strengthened my commitment to the movement to ensure that all immigrants are treated with respect and humanity. By uplifting the stories and leadership of immigrants in these unfortunate times, the Undocumented Stories exhibit functions as a necessary and vital counter to the falsehoods coming out of the White House.

 

George Chacon is the Immigrant Justice Project Manager at the Dream Resource Center, where he guides immigrant leaders in developing rapid response networks for immigrant communities as they face increased threats of detention and deportation. He graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in international development studies and a minor in education studies. He is an LA native and has worked on issues such as workforce development, health and wellness, and college readiness.