Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

About

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→

Research

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 post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

American immigration policy, even at its most restrictive and nativist times, has always maintained the importance of keeping families together.  Like the first laws regulating immigration at the turn of the 20th Century, the current immigration proposal still seeks to keep nuclear families together.  The importance of keeping families together has not changed, but what has changed in the past 100 years is the definition of family.

The question before our legislators is why not keep to the tradition of protecting families and include gay immigrants within the scope of immigration reform?

Public opinion is on the side of both immigration reform and a more progressive definition of marriage beyond that of between and man and a woman.

In 2013 a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.  This support has been steadily growing over the last couple of years–less than 20 years ago only a quarter of Americans supported gay marriage with support growing to one-third by 2000.  Moreover, we saw in the2012 election one state out right reject a ban on gay marriage and three states say “I do” to gay marriage.

And in the next couple of days we expect the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the possibility that DOMA is struck down.  If this happens, then the public support for gay marriage becomes legally buttressed.  By extension, making the case for gay immigrants even stronger.  And even if DOMA is upheld, Congress can still address the issue of marriage equality and simply include a provision for gay immigrant families.

So in theory, a provision for same-sex immigrant families could make it into the final immigration reform legislation.  In reality, there is about zero chance that will happen.  The reason for that, in one word – Evangelicals. (more…)