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.

The political implications of the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 ruling are a wash as far as the November election is concerned.  On the one hand, the President can point to three out of the four provisions being blocked.  On the other hand, Romney and the GOP can point to the heart of SB 1070, the “show me your papers” clause, standing intact.

There will be a great deal of finger-pointing and spin between both camps, but the split decision will have few implications for the 2012 campaign.  Today’s decision will neither make it nor break it for either candidate or party, for that matter.  The long-term political implications are clear, there is little patience left for piecemeal immigration policy.  The states have been warned that they can’t stick their nose in federal business, but the federal government has been shown that if they don’t get their act together they’ll have to endure some state meddling.  Regardless of who the President is come January 2013 he will have to stop dancing around and put together a comprehensive reform.

If the Supreme Court had held up the entirety of SB 1070, then the take home message would be that immigration policy was not solely the domain of the federal government.   In fact, for the first 100 years of our history, immigration control was left up to individual states and there was no federal level regulation.  It wasn’t until the 1875 Immigration Act that the first federal policy was put into effect, although it was a rather general policy, barring prostitutes and criminals from coming to the United States.  (more…)

Arizona’s SB 1070 had its day in court, the Supreme Court to be exact. The decision that will result will greatly affect Latinos both in Arizona and across the country. However, on a broader level, the SCOTUS decision has implications for the two presidential candidates and their campaign leading up to November.

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…)