Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Doing Research on U.S. Immigration: Best Websites

It seems that a new stage in the U.S. Immigration Debate is around the corner. Time for researchers and scholars on both sides of the border to get ready... I would like to share with you some observations about the most important websites on immigration research:

The Migration Policy Institute, the Migration Information Source and the Pew Hispanic Center offer first-hand information and research on immigration issues. Extremely useful websites if you want to have access in a timely manner to information or field research or core surveys on documented or undocumented immigration and policy issues in the U.S.

When doing research on immigration news, the best sites are Yahoo, Los Angles Times, New York Times, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and PollingReport. For a news recap on Spanish, definitely Impresiones Latinas is the best source.

If you are doing research on Mexican immigrants in the United States, the best sites to start your research are the webpage of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad and Huellas Mexicanas, both in Spanish mostly.

If you are interested in acknowledging a serious position against unauthorized immigration, the best website is that of the Center for Immigration Studies. If you are interested in knowing the position of anti anti-immigrant groups, take a look to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The perspective of the Catholic Church is exposed at the Justice for Immigrants website, and the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Regarding research centers affiliated to U.S. universities or academic institutions, the following websites are worth visiting: Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (UCSD), the Mexican Migration Project (Princeton), the Mexico Institute (W. Wilson Center), The Urban Institute, the Center for Migration and Development (Princeton), and the Border Battles website of the Social Science Research Council. For a Mexican perspective in Spanish, go to the website of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte or to the website of the Red Internacional de Migracion y Desarrollo.

Websites of organizations which are very active in defending the rights of immigrants: America’s Voice, American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Forum. To acknowledge the position on the matter of the major unions go to AFL-CIO and SEIU.

The U.S. government Office of Immigration Statistics (Dept. of Homeland Security) offers substantive information in terms of numbers. The National Conference of State Legislatures has done an excellent work in documenting the legislative process of the immigration debate in every state of the Union.

A unique collection of 200 documents regarding the U.S. Immigration Debate during the first semester of 2006 can be found at the website of the Mexico-North Research Network.

You can find an exhaustive list of websites that are related to immigration research in the United States and Europe (96 links, total) in my website, Immigration Research Now (IRNow). Also you can find the most updated information about what happened during the first semester of 2006 in terms of political mobilization at IRNow. Finally, you will find more than 130 images of those mobilization actions across the U.S., 35 links to syllabi on immigration and transnationalism and, of course, a section that addresses the question of What is Transnationalism?

Last but not least, I would like to call your attention to the way The Onion deals with the issue. They make me laugh and, most important of all, they make me think; regardless of my frank opinion about the satire. Humor is essential to deal in a healthy way with serious business in life.

Orale con los websites!


  1. I would like to be a little bit more specific about what "the best of the best" means for me. When I labeled the websites of the MPI and the PHC like the best, I was referring specifically to the best in their own field, that of offering updated information, surveys and field research on undocumented and documented immigrants in the U.S.

    Indeed, it is very difficult (or practically impossible) to label one or two websites the best overall. This because the comparison among different fields is also practically impossible. There is no objective way to compare Spanish versus English websites on immigration research, or union versus Catholic Church websites or Mexican versus U.S. government websites.

    With exception of my own website and that of The Onion, I consider the rest of the websites that I mention here as the best of the best in their own, respective fields.

  2. Great idea, thanks and congratulations!

    It seems that The Center for US-Mexican Studies is missing, dont you think? Specially because you have workings papers there...

  3. Yes, the USMEX is missing. This is mostly because it seems that they have not published research as they used to do. However, expectations are high now that Alberto is the head of the USMEX. Good luck and congrats!!

  4. Hi,

    This is really helpful. I am currently an undergraduate looking into research areas relating to immigration. I am actually trying to do preliminary research to find a topic for a Senior Thesis. (I am a Sophomore at the moment but am trying to start early)

    Any recommendations on where/how to start?


  5. Dear Soñadora Realista,

    I think that the best advice is 1) to follow your instincts and 2) to browse through the websites that I recommend and try to find a topic or topics that you like. You may try browsing while having in mind the following question: What type of research on immigration looks like I will have fun if I decide to go for it? (No fun, no passion, no good research.)

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