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.

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…)

Politics makes for strange bedfellows and Arizona’s opposition to SB 1070 is a poster child for odd alliances – Chamber of Commerce Republicans, Mormons, and Latinos.  The reasons for their opposition to SB 1070 differs as do their visibility.  But in the end all parties feel aggrieved by SB 1070 and seek to prevent the expansion of an SB 1070 policy agenda.  More concretely, this group seeks to recall the architect of the bill, senate president Russell Pearce.  (more…)

Arizona state senator Russell Pearce holds the dubious honor of being the first elected official to face a recall election.[1]  The movement to recall Pearce, the author of SB 1070, has been gaining traction among a motley crew of chamber of commerce Republicans, Latinos, and Mormons (AZ Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows).  Together, this coalition has money, manpower, and motivation.  At first sight it seems like the recall actually has a shot at bringing down Pearce.  However, the likelihood of unseating Pearce is small.  All politics is local and it does not matter how many Arizonans want Pearce to go, what matters is Pearce’s strong base within his district and the oodles of cash he will have to remind District 18 voters that he’s their guy. (more…)