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 NBCnews.com

If Trump clinches the Republican nomination and names Gov. Susana Martinez as his running mate it would be sheer genius. According to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly there is only one choice for Trump’s running mate – and that is the New Mexico Latina governor.

Easier said than done. Following O’Reilly’s comments the Governor’s Press Secretary said she had no intention of entering the fray as a vice presidential candidate. Not surprising given Martinez endorsed fellow Latino Republican Marco Rubio and denounced Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants even leaving open the possibility that she wouldn’t vote for him.

While it would be a heavy lift to get Martinez to say “I do,” she would do wonders for Trump, but not exactly for the reasons that O’Reilly cited, such as her ability to “cut across all ethnic boundaries…” (more…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

I just about fell out of my chair — Governor Susana Martinez supports the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.  This from the woman who came up on the Tea Party wave and was even endorsed by Sarah Palin?  Governor Martinez’s tough talk on immigration disintegrated in an instant when she was quoted this week in a Newsweek story scoffing at the idea of self-deportation and instead offering up the alternative of comprehensive reform.  After recovering from my initial shock it dawned on me, she is a political genius!  I now see what’s she’s up to and it just may work.

Up until last week the most immigrant-friendly stance that Governor Martinez had taken was rejecting the harsher components of Arizona’s SB 1070 law.  Within her first days in office Martinez issued an executive order that rescinded a policy prohibiting law enforcement from asking about a person’s immigration status for determining if a person was violating federal law.  Her earlier views on immigration could be summed up in one word, enforcement.

In her 2010 campaign Martinez made clear her opposition to amnesty and support for policies that would lead to self-deportation, though she never called it that.  Governor Martinez has fought to do away with driver’s licenses for undocumented persons because she believes they act as a magnet to the state.  Her rationale, like that of Romney’s, is that if the magnet is removed then the undocumented person is incentivized to leave.  Her tough stance on immigration didn’t even allow for an exception to be made for students, opposing tuition scholarships for undocumented kids.  (more…)

This article originally appeared on NBCLatino

Nevada governor Brian Sandoval is arguably one of the strongest Republican vice presidential picks for 2012. Unlike Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Sandoval is not dogged by financial controversies.  And unlike New Mexico governor, Susana Martinez, Sandoval is not as polarizing a leader. However, there is one weakness Sandoval cannot escape: His lack of popularity among Latino voters.

A presidential running mate is ideally meant to do three things

1.)  help the presidential nominee in appealing to the general electorate

2.)  secure the swing state they are from

3.)  provide the ticket regional balance

Sandoval checks off all three boxes.  While Gov. Martinez and Senator Rubio can also check off box two and three. the first box is a far miss.  Both of these individuals ran in 2010 on a Tea Party platform and threw their lot in with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party.   (more…)