David Scott FitzGerald


CCIS Co-Director, Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations,
Associate Professor of Sociology, UCSD
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
University of California at San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0548
Email: dfitzgerald@ucsd.edu
Telephone: (858) 822-4447
Fax: (858) 822-4432

David FitzGerald’s CV

David FitzGerald’s research program aims to understand the laws and policies regulating international migration as a total system of interactions among actors in countries of origin and destination. He seeks to explain how and why legal norms are diffused, the social origins of policy variation across time and place, and how the application of policy is experienced by actors in daily life. He is the Co-Director of the San Diego Node of the Scholars Strategy Network and was awarded the American Sociological Association’s International Migration Section “Award for Public Sociology” in 2013.

Research Expertise

International migration, nationalism, transnationalism, comparative immigration and nationality law

Geographical Regions of Specialization

Mexico, USA, Canada, Cuba

Current Research Projects

The Asylum Paradox: Remote Control of Forced Migration to the Global North

Every day on the high seas, at land borders, and in airports, people who claim that they are fleeing persecution in their home countries ask for refuge. Most governments subscribe to the principle that people seeking asylum should not be forced back to countries where they will be persecuted. Many states grant asylum even at considerable financial and domestic political cost. Yet paradoxically, just as human rights norms became universalized in a way that legitimates bounded impingements on state sovereignty, liberal-democratic countries began concentrated efforts to keep many forced migrants at a distance, where they cannot access the full range of asylum protections of international and domestic law. All manner of “remote control” policy tools, from creating legal loopholes defining an airport arrivals terminal as outside the national territory to deploying navies hundreds of miles offshore, are used to keep asylum seekers from accessing the territory of the Global North where they can press their claims.This study aims to describe and explain policies of remote control of asylum seekers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the United States from 1967 to the present by systematically measuring the intensity and extensity of diverse types of controls.

Buffer States and Forced Migration to the Global North

Countries surrounding liberal-democratic destinations in Europe, North America, and Australia are under pressure to act as buffers to prevent asylum seekers from accessing the territory of the Global North. This project systematically examines Turkey, Indonesia, and Mexico as critical cases of buffer states that are beginning to create their own buffers as well.

Media Interview Topics

FitzGerald frequently provides comment on U.S. immigration and border enforcement policy and Mexican migration to media such as the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Guardian (UK), and CBS’s 60 Minutes. He is the Co-Director of the San Diego Node of the Scholars Strategy Network and was awarded the American Sociological Association’s International Migration Section “Award for Public Sociology” in 2013.


Selected Publications

“The role of visual markers in police victimization among structurally vulnerable persons in Tijuana, Mexico” (with Miguel Pinedo et al), International Journal of Drug Policy 26 (5): 501-508. 2015
cullingthemassesCulling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (with David Cook-Martín). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (2014).
~Finalist for the 2015 Theodore Saloutos Book Prize of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (for the best book in U.S. immigration history published in 2014)
nation-of-emigrantsA Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (2009).
Culling the Masses: A Rejoinder (with David Cook-Martín) Ethnic and Racial Studies Review 38(8). 2015
Emigration’s Impacts on Mexico: A Sociology of Dissimilation in How Immigrants Impact their Homelands, edited by Susan Eva Eckstein and Adil Najam. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.
Migration: Policies and Politics” (with Rafael Alarcón) in Mexico and the United States: The Politics of Partnership, edited by Peter H. Smith and Andrew Selee. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013.
A Comparativist Manifesto for International Migration Studies Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2012.
Citizenship à la Carte: Emigration and the Strengthening of the Sovereign State in Politics from Afar: Transnational Diasporas and Networks, edited by Peter Mandaville and Terrence Lyons, Columbia University Press, 2012.
Mexican Migration and the Law in Beyond the Border: The History of Mexico-US Migration, edited by Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, pp.179-203. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2011.
Liberalism and the Limits of Inclusion: Racialized Preferences in Immigration Laws of the Americas, 1850-2000. (with David Cook-Martín), Journal of Interdisciplinary History. 16(1): 7-25. 2010.
Colonies of the Little Motherland: Membership, Space, and Time in Mexican Migrant Hometown AssociationsComparative Studies in Society and History 50(1). 2008.
Mexican Assimilation: A Temporal and Spatial Reorientation (with Tomás Jiménez), W.E.B. Du Bois Review 4(2): 337-354. 2007.
Inside the Sending State: The Politics of Mexican Emigration Control, International Migration Review 40(2): 259-93. 2006.
Towards a Theoretical Ethnography of Migration, Qualitative Sociology 29(1): 1-24. 2006.
Rethinking Emigrant Citizenship, New York University Law Review 81(1): 90-116. 2006.
Nationality and Migration in Modern Mexico, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 31(1):171-91. 2005.
Transnationalism in Question (with Roger Waldinger), American Journal of Sociology 109(5):1177-95. 2004.
Beyond ‘Transnationalism’: Mexican Hometown Politics at an American Labor Union, Ethnic and Racial Studies 27(2): 228-47. 2004.
Negotiating Extra-Territorial Citizenship: Mexican Migration and the Transnational Politics of Community. Monograph series no. 2. La Jolla: CCIS, UC San Diego. 2000.

Academic Background

Ph.D. in Sociology, University of California , Los Angeles , 2005
M.A. in Sociology, University of California , Los Angeles , 2001
M.A. in Latin American Studies, University of California , San Diego , 2000
Bachelor of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin , 1995