UC Merced Connect: Professor says ties should be a factor in deportations

August 19, 2013 

Immigration judges should be allowed to consider a person's family and social ties to the United States before ordering the deportation of legal permanent residents for minor offenses, UC Merced sociology Professor Tanya Golash-Boza said.

"The reason legal permanent residents can be deported for minor crimes — even if they have lived in the United States for many years — is that there is little to no due process in immigration courts," Golash-Boza said. "Under current laws, if a person has a prior conviction for a wide range of crimes, the judge has no judicial discretion."

Ninety-eight percent of all deportees are sent to Latin America and the Caribbean, even though people from those countries do not make up 98 percent of all immigrants, she said.

"U.S. deportation policies are draconian and target specific populations," Golash-Boza said. "Unfortunately, in the current immigration reform debate, this has little chance of changing."

Golash-Boza will talk about her research into the policing, profiling and assimilation of male immigrants from Jamaica, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic at the American Sociological Association's annual conference.

Golash-Boza interviewed about 130 men who were born outside the United States, emigrated legally at a young age and grew up within the country. They fall between being first- and second-generation immigrants.

Summer scholars learn by doing

UC Merced has made a name for itself by giving undergraduates the opportunity to engage in research early in their academic careers.

Nothing showcases that commitment better than the campus's collaborative summer research program, which culminated last week with a symposium where undergrads presented their research and exhibited posters of their work.

This summer, 41 students have been conducting research with world-class faculty, thanks to sponsorships from seven different programs.

According to Jesus Cisneros, director for undergraduate research programs, these student scholars represent an investment in the future.

"We are coaching these students to present their research at competitive regional and national conferences, in addition to helping them to develop skills to prepare them for the rigors of graduate school and professional careers," he said.

For students such as Laura Jalpa, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Hispanic-Serving Institution Scholar from East Palo Alto, this program has given her confidence in her choice of studies and plans for the future.

"This entire summer has been confirmation that I am on the right path," said the earth systems sciences major. "I came to UC Merced thinking I had an interest in soil science; now I know that's the field for me."

PG&E Engineering Summer Scholars Program participant Enrique Daza is no stranger to research.

The bioengineering senior from San Mateo has worked in labs at UC Merced and abroad, but this summer's experience in the lab of Jing Xu has opened his eyes to the emerging world of DNA origami.

"What is different for me this time in the lab is my ability to conduct my own independent research," he said. "I have the guidance from my adviser but also the freedom to teach myself how to develop my own experiment protocol."

UC LEADS Scholar Emmanuel Villanueva, a junior psychology major from Fresno, is another research veteran. Since enrolling at UC Merced, he's worked in psychology and cognitive science labs with faculty such as Anna Song, David Noelle and Teenie Matlock.

Like all of the summer research scholars, Villanueva is grateful for the funding he's received and for the invaluable experience of being part of the big picture that academic research represents.

"When I pursue graduate school, I will not see myself as one among many, but as part of a group of first-generation students who are facilitating the path for those who come after us."

In addition to the programs mentioned, UC Merced's summer research program includes scholars from CAMP, UPSTaRT, APS Scholars and Pre-Health Scholars.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the University Communications staff. To contact them, email communications@ucmerced.edu.

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