Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is a political scientist that got the political nerd bug in middle school student council. Today she hangs her hat at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and engages in political wonkiness on MSNBC, NBCNews.com, and Telemundo among others. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding the politics, policies and people that shape our fascinating yet frustrating political landscape. Her areas of expertise include immigration, Latinos, women, political psych, & elections.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

It’s no secret that the Republican Party has a serious problem with immigration.  But in this instance I’m talking about their problem with Latinos migrating out of their own party.  Republicanos are trading in the elephant for the donkey, or at the very least going without a party vehicle.

This week a high-profile Latino Republican, the former head of Hispanic outreach for Florida’s RNC, publicly left the party.  For Pablo Pantoja, the straw that broke the camel’s, or in this case the elephant’s, back was the Heritage Foundation’s anti-immigrant report and its co-author’s public defense of Latinos as a group having low IQ scores.  In his public farewell letter Pantoja references the general harshness of the Republican rhetoric toward immigrants, then points to a specific racist exchange at this year’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), and concludes with a rejection of the likes of Dr. Jason Richwine (author of the Heritage study) as a voice for the GOP.  To sum up his rationale, Pantoja simply states that his former party had resorted to “intolerance and hate.”

He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. (more…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

What do Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons all have in common?  And no, this is not the beginning of a joke.

The growth of all three faiths is being fueled by the Latino population.   Latinos are not just the fastest growing population but as a group they are more religious.  Latinos are the fastest growing segments of the Evangelical movement, the Catholic Church, and the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).  Coincidentally, these religious groups are also supportive of a more open immigration policy.

The vocal defense of comprehensive immigration reform by the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops is neither new nor surprising.  The majority of Latinos are Catholic and the American Catholic Church has been saved from steep membership decline because of the growth of the Latino population.

The Mormon Church does not explicitly get involved in political issues, such as immigration.  However, over the last several years the Church of LDS has unofficially been advocating for a more humane and realistic approach to immigration.  The Mormon Church has doubled the size of their Spanish language congregations in the last decade and continues to expand throughout Latin America.

The newcomer to the pro-immigration camp today is the Evangelical movement.  Evangelical leaders are taking a grass-roots mobilizing approach in spreading the word to their faithful through the pulpit and media outreach.  At the same time, Evangelical leaders are sending Republican elected officials the signal that it’s OK to move away from a hardline enforcement only stance on immigration.

This explicit support for immigration is so interesting because Evangelicals (like Mormons) overwhelmingly identify with the Republican Party.  So in the last several weeks we have seen a group of people traditionally associated with restrictionist immigration policy shift to supporting a more open immigration reform policy. (more…)