Deisy Del Real (2018-2019)

Deisy Del Real completed her dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2019.

She is a postdoctoral fellow and forthcoming assistant professor at the University of Southern California. Deisy’s research broadly focuses on the construction of legal immigration systems and how legal immigration contexts, which range from enforcement- to rights-focused, affect immigrants’ lives.

One study examines how the United States’ restrictive immigration laws affect the lives of undocumented and U.S. born young adults who grew up with undocumented parents. Her article “Toxic Ties: The Reproduction of Legal Violence within Mixed-Status Intimate Partners, Relatives, and Friends,” in International Migration Review won the ASA Sociology of Law Graduate Student Award, and received an honorable mention from the ASA International Migration section.

Another publication “They See Us like Trash”: The Impact of Mexican Illegality Stigma on the Psychological Well-Being of Undocumented Young Adults,’ is published in Advances in Medical Sociology.

Deisy’s second line of research examines how rights-based immigration legal systems are created and affect immigrants. Her study, “Documenting the Undocumented,” identifies how six South American governments designed, ratified, and implemented the Mercosur Residency Agreement, which is the first policy to immigrants’ legal residency status a substantive right. She is currently completing her book manuscript based on 145 interviews with advocates and policymakers in South America and writing articles that compare the legal residency acquisition experiences of 90 Venezuelan immigrants who settled in Argentina, Colombia, and Chile.

Her research projects have been supported by the National Science Foundation (twice) and several other organizations. Moreover, Dr. Del Real regularly provides expert consultancy and runs workshops for governments, universities, and organizations. For instance, she provided expert testimony before Mercosur—a regional organization like the EU — during their adaptation of the Inter-American Human Rights Court’s Advisory-Opinion 21/14. This advisory opinion specifies how states should protect the human rights and well being of undocumented children and adolescents. As a result of this collaboration, she provided further consultation to the congress of San Jose, Uruguay, where they voted in favor of passing the Acta 11, which implements this advisory opinion In 2018.

Deisy was awarded the UCLA Charles E. & Sue K. Young Graduate Award for her research and public sociology. This is the highest honor given to one graduate student in social sciences by the UCLA College Deans for exemplary academic achievement, research, and service to the campus and community.

She is currently organizing a conference that will convince immigrant rights activists and policy innovators from countries throughout the Americas to identify strategies to replace the United States’ immigration law with a more humane model.

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