UC Davis experts on Syria immigration and migration

The following University of California, Davis, faculty can speak to the media on issue of immigration, migration and refugee status in light of ongoing issues related to Syria.

Migration and border struggles

Maurice Stierl is a Mellon visiting assistant professor for comparative border studies at UC Davis. His research and teaching focus on migration and border struggles in contemporary Europe and North Africa in discourse and practice.

Stierl is an active member of the activist project WatchTheMed Alarm Phone, which created a “hotline” for migrants in distress at sea when traveling toward Europe. The Alarm Phone network, consisting of more than 100 human rights and freedom of movement activists located in Africa, Europe and the United States, has been able to connect with thousands of travelers in acute emergency situations since October 2014 and has thereby directly intervened into the most deadly border zone of the world.

He can speak about the dramatic socio-political transformations currently occurring within and beyond Europe, sparked by migration movements. He is the author of “No One Is Illegal! – Resistance and the Politics of Discomfort” (2012), published in Globalizations. Contact: mstierl@ucdavis.edu.

Immigration policy and civil rights

Kevin Johnson, dean and the Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicano/a Studies at the UC Davis School of Law, is one of the nation’s leading immigration law scholars. He recently wrote a commentary for Time online: “Borders should be checkpoints, not roadblocks, to migrants.” In the essay, he wrote, “The Syrian refugee crisis unfortunately is simply the latest mass migration to challenge the global community.”

His research focuses on immigration law and civil rights, and he can speak to the ways in which changes in immigration law and policy impact the civil rights of citizens and immigrants. He was a member of then-candidate Obama’s Immigration Policy Group, where he assisted in formulating immigration law and policy positions for the Obama campaign. Johnson was one of the attorneys who represented the State Bar of California before the California Supreme Court in the matter of Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who was admitted to practice law. His books include "Immigration Law and the U.S.-Mexico Border," “Opening the Floodgates: Why America Needs to Rethink Its Borders and Immigration Laws” and “The 'Huddled Masses' Myth: Immigration and Civil Rights.” He is co-editor of the influential Immigration Prof blog. Contact: (530) 752-0243, krjohnson@ucdavis.edu.

Impact of refugees on European local economies

Giovanni Peri, chair of the Department of Economics at UC Davis and professor of economics, is director of the Temporary Migration Cluster at UC Davis. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and since 2012 has been editor of Regional Science and Urban Economics.

He has published in several academic journals including the American Economic Review, the Review of Economic Studies, The Review of Economics and Statistics, the Economic Journal and the Journal of the European Economic Association. His research has been featured by the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and several popular blogs and websites.

His research has focused on the determinants and consequences of international migrations, in local and national economies. More recently he has been analyzing the impact of highly skilled immigration on innovation and performances of local economies and firms. He has analyzed the impact from admitting refugees on local economies, looking at Bosnian and African refugees in several European countries.

He has received grants to fund his research from the MacArthur Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the World Bank, the National Science Foundation and several other institutions. He holds a doctoral degree in economics from UC Berkeley. Contact: gperi@ucdavis.edu.

Media Resources

Karen Nikos-Rose, Research news (emphasis: arts, humanities and social sciences), 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

Secondary Categories

Society, Arts & Culture Society, Arts & Culture Education University