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 post originally appeared on NBCLatino

Yesterday’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court concerning SB 1070 were highly anti-climactic, at least with regards to their political implications. It’s a toss up as to whether the court will vote to uphold key provisions of the law or if the court will split—as a result of Justice Kagan’s recusal—and the provisional blocks put into place by the lower courts will hold. Either way, the Obama administration has a compelling narrative to mobilize the Latino community in the lead up to November’s election.

The arguments heard yesterday revolved around whether Arizona was helping or hindering the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Arizona argued that they simply wanted to act as a cooperating junior partner. The administration argued that Arizona was usurping federal powers and that this meddling would interfere with their law enforcement efforts. The 80 minutes of oral arguments dealt with the narrow issue of state versus federal powers. Save for a warning from Chief Justice Roberts to the Solicitor General that the issue of racial profile not be brought up, the question of racial profiling was absent.

Unlike the Supreme Court, the President is concerned with the very real and tangible effect of racial profiling. While his administration is also concerned with constitutional pre-emption they have not lost sight of the human face of a law that gives broad in-roads to civil rights violations. The human and civil rights of Arizonans and in particular Latinos in Arizona are put in peril with the “show me your papers” provision. Since SB 1070 was signed into law the Obama administration has challenged the law up to the highest court in the land where it unfolded yesterday. (more…)

This post orignally appeared in The Nation blog 

Nothing.  My home state does not suffer from a fundamental political or societal flaw.  There are a number of things that I do not like about Arizona, namely S.B. 1070, tent-city Joe Arpaio, and finger-wagging Jan Brewer.  But to understand Arizona and that nothing’s the matter with it you have to understand its Western personality, one that is volatile and quirky.  It is a personality that is forged by an inheritance of populist politics and idiosyncratic political leaders.

One hundred years ago this month Arizona was the last state in the continental U.S. to gain statehood.  While the political machines in New York, Baltimore and Chicago were grinding out back room deals Arizona was only beginning to think about statehood.  As Tom Schaller points out in his book, Whistling Past Dixie, the later incorporation of the Mountain West states meant a later start to political development in this region.  As a result, states west of the Mississippi do not have deep partisan roots that anchor their political systems. (more…)