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Biden's Border Travesty
published in Project Syndicate on January 19, 2023

  On the eve of US President Joe Biden’s inauguration, immigration advocates were optimistic that the incoming administration would end Title 42, a once-obscure rule that during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed border agents to reject migrants who might otherwise have qualified for asylum. While researching my forthcoming book, Precarious Protections, I interviewed lawyers working with unaccompanied immigrant children in Los Angeles who were confident that the new administration would restore the right to seek asylum in the United States. But that is not what happened ....


Central American Kids are Escaping Violence, Why Won’t the U.S. Protect Them?
published in the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration Blog on August 9, 2018

  The separation of Central American families at the border is the latest chapter in the long history of the United States’ refusal to protect those escaping the very conditions caused by its political and economic intervention in the region. Disregarding push factors fueling migration from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala–including gang victimization and homicide rates rivaling those of active war zones–the Trump administration discredits Central Americans’ asylum claims by: eliminating pathways for safe and legal migration; criminalizing unauthorized border crossings by reframing legitimate protections in U.S. law for asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children as so-called “loopholes” that allegedly incentivize migrants to cheat the system; and narrowing the interpretation of the refugee definition in the U.S. asylum process ...



No Children Here. Quoted in The Baffler (November 2023).

Episode featuring Precarious Protections on The Roundtable Perspective TV show, Lakeshore PBS on October 20, 2023. (watch online:

Podcast Episode on Precarious Protections, Root of Conflict. (June 2023).

"Biden Administration Announces Measures to Curb Illegal Child Labor."  Quoted in Voice of America (March 2, 2023)

“The Stick Is Much Bigger Than the Carrot” in Biden’s New Border Plan: They might even try to revive the transit ban from Trump’s anti-immigrant hardliner Stephen Miller. Quoted in Mother Jones (January 6 2023)

"New book documents lives of unaccompanied minors" Interview in Cornell Chronicle (June 14 2022)

From the Los Angeles Asylum Office in Anaheim, California you can see the Disneyland parking lot and even some of the rides. But Disneyland’s iconic childhood vacations are out of reach for the minors visiting the office, as sociologist Chiara Galli knows well. For six years while doing an ethnographic study, Galli helped unaccompanied minors from Central America navigate the United States’ labyrinthine asylum process ...

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