Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

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

Recent Media

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Let me be clear, I am no fan of President Trump’s immigration rhetoric and recent immigration executive orders. But in looking at the recent immigration enforcement surge we need to take three deep breaths and separate known facts from speculation as we remain vigilant.

First, the facts. During the week of February 9, 2017 there was an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) surge. Preliminary information from ICE indicates that this was a targeted enforcement sweep of immigrants defined as criminals.

Coordinated ICE sweeps targeting undocumented criminals are nothing new. Such surges took place routinely during the Obama administration.

For the sake of comparison let’s zoom in on the Los Angeles sector – one of the most immigrant populous regions of the country. Less than a year ago, in mid July of 2016, 112 foreign nationals were apprehended in an ICE sweep targeting at-large criminals. About half of these individuals had felony convictions and the remaining had misdemeanors. Last week in the same Los Angeles sector, 160 foreign nationals were apprehended; of which 150 had criminal histories and five had final orders of removal. (more…)

This piece originally appeared on NBCnews.com

Ringing in the new year with mass deportation raids – what the heck are some of the folks in the Obama administration thinking? That is the question Democrats must be pondering as we go into 2016.

In early January Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is set to carry out a nationwide round up of individuals who have been given deportation orders. But these are not gang-banger thugs; the specific targets of these raids are those who entered the United States in the summer of 2014, primarily Central American minors and their mothers.

The 2016 election at the presidential, congressional, and local levels will be hard fought. Democrats need Latinos but they will have to deal with the fallout of the Department of Homeland Security’s planned raids to take place in early January. The news has already drawn swift criticism from immigrant and Latino groups.

How the administration and the Democrat party thinks it will deal with the fallout is a puzzler. But like most things, there is a method to the madness and below the surface you can see the strategic logic to these raids, at least from the administration’s viewpoint. There are five reasons the Obama White House – and by default the Democrats – may be betting that they can have their cake and eat it too. (more…)