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How to Legalize Immigrants?: the Case of Mercosur  

Research on How Countries Can Collaborate to Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants

My research analyzes how developing countries in South America use Mercosur, a regional trade agreement, to resolve undocumented migration in a manner that protects immigrants’ rights without compromising national security. In 2002, Mercosur passed the Residency Agreements, which gives nationals of affiliated countries the ability to relocate, obtain legal residency, and access civil, economic, cultural, and social rights. Mercosur does not have the legal capacity to enforce this policy. Yet, by 2014 nine out of twelve South American countries affiliated with Mercosur had included the Residency Agreements in their national migration policy.

This project analyzes the process that led to the national implementation of the agreements in those six countries in order to identify the actors and factors that facilitated or hindered the agreement’s adaptation as national legislation. I conducted 130 in-depth interviews, created a regional and national migration policy database, and compiled an economic growth and trade indicators database for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

 

 These findings are essential for understanding the national impact of Mercosur’s migration instruments. Moreover, the findings will inform approximately 28 other regional organizations across the world that passed regional migration policies. This project expands our understanding of how regional migration policy can serve as a tool to reform national immigration law.  This project will also identify new models and strategies for addressing unauthorized migration that can inform policymakers and advocates around the world. 

  

 

Deisy Del Real

 

International Migration Scholar

CV Here

Assistant Professor of Sociology

University of Southern California (USC), 2021

Turpanjian Postdoctoral Fellowship

USC’s Sociology Department and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, 2020

Provost Postdoctoral Fellowship

USC, 2019

PhD in Sociology 

University of California-Los Angeles, 2019

Visiting Doctoral Scholar

Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani

Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2016

Masters of Arts in Sociology

University of California-Los Angeles, 2013

Bachelors of Arts in Sociology

Grinnell College, 2007

 
Undocumented Immigrants in the United States

Research on the Impact of Undocumented Status on Interpersonal Relationships and Psychological Well Being

This research focuses on how undocumented immigration status in the United States impacts the relationships between family members and friends. I analyze how immigration enforcement, welfare, and citizenship laws unevenly distribute legal resources among mixed-status relatives and friends who are either citizens, legal residents, or undocumented immigrants. I analyze how this uneven distribution of legal resources--or rights, protections, and benefits--impacts interpersonal relationships and the psychological well being of young adults.


I draw on  52 interviews with young adults between the ages of 18 and 36. Thirty of the young adults are undocumented and twenty two were born in the United States, but had at least one undocumented parent growing up. 

International Border Fence.jpg
Publications
 

Peer-Reviewed

Del Real, Deisy. 2018. "Toxic Ties: The Reproduction of Legal Violence within Mixed-Status Intimate Partners, Relatives, and Friends," International Migration Review.

  • American Sociological Association Sociology of Law Graduate Student Paper Award (2018)

  • American Sociological Association International Migration Sections’s Aristide Zolberg Student Scholar Award (2018), Honorable Mention

  • Article Available Here

 

Del Real, Deisy. Accepted and Forthcoming.'"They See Us like Trash": The Impact of Mexican Illegality Stigma on the Psychological Well-Being of Undocumented Young Adults,' Advances in Medical Sociology, Immigration and Health 19.

  • Abstract, There is a conflation of Mexican origin with the category “undocumented immigrant” that targets and stigmatizes undocumented Mexicans—I call this Mexican illegality stigma. I assess whether Mexican illegality stigma negatively affects the psychological well-being of Mexican-Origin individuals in the U.S., distinguishing between undocumented Mexicans and citizen Mexican Americans. I draw from the stress process model and 52 in-depth interviews—30 with undocumented young adults from Mexico and 22 with U.S.-born young adults of Mexican descent—to evaluate how undocumented Mexicans and citizen Mexican Americans experience Mexican illegality stigma and to determine if it affects the psychological well-being of undocumented Mexicans in a distinct manner. I found that all respondents experienced social rejection and discrimination when they were assumed or perceived as undocumented Mexicans. While few of the U.S.-born respondents were affected by these incidents, most undocumented young adults found these incidents stressful because they were humiliating, excluded them from valuable resources and opportunities, and forced them to incur financial burden (e.g., unfair fines), which disrupted their transition to adulthood processes such as parenthood and labor market advancement. This study found evidence that Mexican illegality stigma is a stressor and source of distress for undocumented young adults from Mexico. As opposition to undocumented immigration from Mexico intensifies, the hostile context may further strain the psychological well-being of undocumented Mexicans.

Other Publications

Barrera, Jorge, Fernando Gómez, and Deisy Del Real. 2016. “Intervenciones de Participantes del Seminario Internacional en la Sesión Extraordinaria de la Junta Departamental de San José.” Observatorio de Políticas Publicas de Derechos Humanos en el Mercosur 3(3): 27-34.

Del Real, Deisy. 2015. "A Century of Jinetes." Featured Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow Biography. 

Del Real, Deisy, Dan Ichinose, Victoria Wilson, Karin Wang, Marita Etcubanez, Terry Ao-Minnis and Olivia Chow. 2011. "A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States, 2011." The Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Los Angeles, CA: U.S. The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

Awards, Grants, & Fellowships

Charles E. & Sue K. Young Graduate Award, 2018

  • The highest honor given to graduate students by the UCLA College Deans for exemplary academic achievement, research and service to the campus and community (only recipient in the social sciences; one of four across UCLA )

 

Winner of the American Sociological Association Sociology of Law Graduate Student Paper Award, 2018
 
Honorable Mention of the American Sociological Association International Migration Sections Aristide Zolberg Student Scholar Award, 2018

 

Center for Engaged Scholarship Fellowship, 2018

Dissertation Year Fellowship, UCLA, 2018

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 2018

 

UCLA Sociology Department’s Board of Visitors Graduate Student Fieldwork Award, 2017

 

UCLA Center for Mexican Studies Tutoring Program Award, 2017

  • Funded by the Mexican Foreign Ministry's Institute for Mexicans Abroad and Parents Alliance

 

International Studies Association-West, Emerging Scholars Forum Award, 2017

 

National Science Foundation Sociology Program’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award, 2017-2018

  • Project: Why do Most South American Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur 

 

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, 2012-2016

 

The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, 2011-2012

 

The Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, UCLA, 2011 & 2017

 

UCLA Graduate Division Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Grantee, 2012

  • Project: "The Psychological Wellbeing of Undocumented Young Adults"

 

The Posse Foundation, Grinnell Posse One Full Tuition Scholarship, 2003-2007

 

The Posse Foundation, Summer Grant, 2006

  • Project: College Preparatory Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

Grinnell College’s Career Center, Private Grant, 2006

  • Project: College Preparatory Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

Grinnell College, Private Grant, 2005

  • Project: Internship at the Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C 

 

The Posse Foundation, Summer Internship Grant, 2005

  • Project: Internship at the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles 

           

Grinnell Career Center, Summer Internship Grant, 2005

  • Project: Documenting the Undocumented Film

 

Babson College, Posse Scholarship, 2005

  • Project: Babson Business Edge Summer Program

 
Conferences
 

Academic

  • “How did the South American Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur,” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Canada, August 2017, Regular Session Presenter.

  •  "Migrants and Global Labor Markets," American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Canada, August 2017, Regular Session Discussant. 

  • “What Happens When Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur’s Residency Agreements,” International Studies Association CISS/IDSS at the University of Bologna, June 2017. Presenter.

  • “Diasporas, Refugees and the Challenges of Integration,” International Studies Association CISS/IDSS at the University of Bologna, June 2017, Discussant.

  • “What Happens When Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur’s Residency Agreements,” International Meeting on Law and Society in Mexico City, June 2017, Presenter.

  • “Why And How did the South American Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur,” UCLA Political Sociology and the Global South Student Conference: Interdisciplinary Insights from the Global South, May 2017, Presenter. 

  • “Why And How did the South American Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur,” UCLA Going Global Conference: Collaborative Visions for a Sustainable Future UCLA, April 2017, Presenter.

  • "Why And How did the South American Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights?: The Case of Mercosur,” Global Politics of Migration and Refuge, Grinnell College, September 2016, Invited Presenter.

  • “Can Regional Integration Efforts Open National Borders to Immigrants?: The Case of Mercosur.” Migration Law Class, Grinnell College,  February 2016, Invited Guest Lecturer.

  • ‘“They See Us Like Trash,” The Impact of Anti-immigrant Stigma Stress on the Psychological Well-being of Unauthorized Mexican Young Adults,’ Seminar: "How Race Gets Under Our Skin," UCLA, 2015, Invited Guest Lecturer.

  • ‘“They See Us Like Trash,” The Impact of Anti-immigrant Stigma Stress on the Psychological Well-being of Unauthorized Mexican Young Adults,’ The International Symposium on Illegality, Youth, and Belonging Conference, Harvard University, October 2013, Presenter.

  • ‘“They See Us Like Trash,” The Impact of Anti-immigrant Stigma Stress on the Psychological Well-being of Unauthorized Mexican Young Adults,’ Colegio de la Frontera Norte at UCLA Graduate Student Presentations, UCLA, 2013, Presenter.

  • “Undocumented: Navigating College Life, Opportunities and Psychological Well-being,” Pomona College,  2013. Invited Presenter.

  • “The Psychological Well-being of Undocumented Mexican Young Adults,” The American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in New York, August  2013, Round Table Presenter. 

  • “Research Overview: Undocumented Youth in the US and Mercosur’s Open Borders and Immigrant Rights Policy.” Seminar: “California Immigration,” Occidental College, 2015, Invited Guest Lecturer.

  • "The Psychological Well-being of Undocumented Mexican Young Adults: Anti-immigrant Stigma and Migrant Social Networks." We asked for workers and families came: children, youth and families in migration University of California Immigration Conference at UCLA, 2013, Organizer and Presenter.

Academic Consulting on Immigration

  • The Posse Foundation Liaisons Conference, The Posse Foundation, New York, NY, June, 13 2017. Invited consultant to 57 partnered colleges and univeristies on how to meet the needs of students who are undocumented or have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

  • “Opinión Consultiva OC-21/14: La Condición de los Inmigrantes Indocumentados en los Estados Unidos: Testimonio.” Junta Departamental de San José, Uruguay, September 21, 2015. Invited Academic Consultant. --Acta 11 Internalized the Inter-American Court of Human Rights​ Advisory Opinion OC-11/14 on the rights of immigrant children in San Jose (Link)

  • “La Condición de los Inmigrantes Indocumentados en los Estados Unidos.” Seminar: “Niños, niñas y adolecentes migrantes: Derechos, Educación, Cultura y Salud. La Opinión Consultiva OC-21/14 de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos,” MERCOSUR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguayand the Inter-American Children’s Institute. September 16, 2015. Invited Academic Consultant.

  • “Fellowships and Undocumented College Students: The Role of College Advisors.” The National Association of Fellowship Advisors 2013 Conference, (Atlanta, Georgia), July 25 & July 26, 2013. Invited Speaker. 

  • Board of Directors Meeting, The Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, 2014. Consultant on the Admissibility of Students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Other Public Sociology

  • "Living in Impossible: Navigating an Undocumented Life," Grinnell College, April 29, 2013. Invited Speaker.

  • “AB540: Life and Health.” The Graduate Student Intern for a Summer Institute’s AB540 Panel. Occidental College, 2013. Invited Presenter and Moderator.

  • "UndocuTalk," Occidental College, November 30, 2012, Invited Panel Moderator.

  • "Round table on Deferred Action: current fellows discuss the impact of this ruling on their outreach projects in immigrant communities." Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans Conference 2012, Open Society Institute, October 27, 2012, Panelist.

  • "Keynote Welcome Honorable Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York," Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans Conference 2012, Open Society Institute, October 26, 2012, Q&A Panelist.

  • "A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States, 2011," Advancing Justice Conference, San Francisco, October 2011. Invited Speaker.

 
 
Media

"Chingona"

2017 to Present

Impact producer for a short film about my life

by Emmy-nominated director Stefan Forbes

"Niños, Niñas y
Adolescentes
Migrantes"

September 22, 2015

Uruguayan Press reports on Deisy's presentation regarding the condition of undocumented youth in the U.S. and how Mercosur could use the Inter-American Human Rights Court's Advisory Opinion 21/14 to protect the human rights of immigrant children and youth.

"The Rise of Being
'Undocumented
and Unafraid'"

December 3, 2012

ABC News interviews Deisy regarding the rise of the undocumented youth movement in the United States

"Del Real
Deal on
Immigration"

May 3, 2013

Scarlet and Black comments on Deisy's presentation at Grinnell College.

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