About

I’m a research scholar at the NYU School of Law and adjunct assistant professor in the NYU Masters Program in International Relations. My primary research interests include the impact of remittances (money immigrants send to their home countries) on development and politics in developing countries, immigration policy, the root causes of mass migration, and the political economy of Mexico and Central America.

My new book, Outsourcing Welfare: How the Money Immigrants Send Home Contributes to Stability in Developing Countries, will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2018. The book argues that remittances have been a force for political and social stability in developing countries in the current era of neoliberal globalization. As the governments of developing countries pull back on welfare commitments, citizens abroad have increasingly sent more money home to help their family members cope with austerity, economic crises, and natural disasters. The money migrants send home reduces economic grievances in developing countries and the likelihood of political instability and civil unrest. Outsourcing Welfare is based on ethnographic research and survey research I conducted in rural Mexico with funding from the National Science Foundation and analyses of survey data from 50 developing countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. My research has also been published or is forthcoming in a variety of academic journals and law reviews, including Perspectives on Politics, The N.Y.U. Law Review, Latino Studies, Migration Studies, Electoral Studies, Research & Politics and the William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal.

I am now working on a new book about US immigration policy and migration from Mexico and Central America and a project on interventions for reducing anti-immigrant sentiment. More on these projects in the coming months.

Over the years I have used video to conduct and disseminate qualitative research on migration and immigration policy. My feature-length documentary The Other Side of Immigration (2010) is based on a survey of 700 families I conducted in rural Mexico for my doctoral dissertation. The film traces the root causes of Mexican immigration to the United States and the effects of migration in small towns in Mexico. It won the American Library Association Notable Video Award in 2011 and I have presented it at about 150 film festivals, universities, and community events over the years. It’s used by the U.S. State Department for professional development and has appeared on a number of lists of best immigration documentaries. I also wrote, directed, and produced a documentary series called Immigrant America (2014), which was broadcast on Vice News. Episodes explore the cost of deporting parents of American citizens, the impact of immigration enforcement on the US agricultural industry, and the root causes of child migration from Central America. Finally, I wrote and directed a short documentary called A Mexican Sound, which analyzes the revival of indigenous music and dance in high-emigration communities in northern Mexico. It screened at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, the Boston Latino Film Festival, the International Folk Music Film Festival, Cine Las Americas, and others.

I studied political science and international relations at the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D.), the University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University (B.A.). I live in Brooklyn with my wife, step-daughter, and chihuahua, Henry. I enjoy traveling and cycling with my family.

For more information, download my CV here.