Irene Bloemraad in outdoor setting

Research Expertise and Interest

immigration, social movements, political sociology, multiculturalism, race & ethnicity, Canada, non-profit organizations, research methods

Research Description

Irene Bloemraad (Ph.D. Harvard; M.A. McGill) is the Class of 1951 Professor of Sociology at Berkeley. She is also the founding Director of the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative.  In 2014-15, she served as a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences committee reporting on the integration of immigrants into American society.

Bloemraad studies the nexus between immigration and the political system. She is the author of Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada, which argues that the United States’ lack of general integration policies has led to lower levels of citizenship among immigrants in the United States compared to Canada, and poorer outcomes in political incorporation. Professor Bloemraad’s work suggests that any effective immigration policy must examine not just border control, but also integration and settlement policies. Bloemraad is also the co-editor of Civic Hopes and Political Realities about the civic inequalities that arise from unequal voice and visibility for immigrant organizations. She co-edited Rallying for Immigrant Rights, the first book-length treatment of the 2006 immigration rallies that brought millions of people into the streets to oppose the criminalization of undocumented migrants. More recently, she co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, a state-of-the-art synthesis of current scholarship on citizenship. Her current work looks at the effects of multiculturalism policy on socio-political outcomes, the prevalence of immigrant nonprofits in suburbs and central cities, the political socialization of people living in mixed legal status families, and the resonance of rights claims in shifting voters' views on immigration policy.

In the News

America on edge: Berkeley scholars’ early election thoughts

UC Berkeley scholars awoke Wednesday, Nov. 4 to signs of a deeply divided U.S. electorate, and no blue wave on the horizon. Despite a surge in early voting, ballots were still being counted in several battleground states. As of noon that day, the race between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden remained too close to call. 

Researchers unveil new initiative on human migration

UC Berkeley researchers today announced the launch of the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, a joint project of faculty, researchers and students that will explore such timely issues as refugee crises, human rights, mmigration, nativism and border control concerns.

Faces of Immigration Studies at Cal

The field of immigration studies at Berkeley is growing rapidly. Faculty research and courses examining the intersections of migration, race, citizenship, and politics have grown in recent years along with the changing demographics of the student population.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
July 25, 2023
Justin Brooks

Members of CIFAR’s Boundaries, Membership & Belonging program are providing a framework for understanding and creating successful migrant integration.

April 30, 2019
Matt Kwong

President's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner to present new immigration policy proposal.

November 8, 2019
Lisa McCorkell and Sara Hinkley

Immigrant rights activists have been trying new strategies to advocate for refugees and undocumented people, including invoking human rights, civil rights, and American values. Berkeley Professors of Sociology Kim Voss and Irene Bloemraad surveyed California voters to find out which framing strategy works best. Contrary to popular logic, they found that the most effective framing strategy is the American values frame, showing a new path forward for pro-immigrant activism.

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