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Tom K. Wong

Associate Professor of Political Science

Tom K. Wong is an associate professor of political science and founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego. He served as an advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) under the Obama administration where he co-led the immigration portfolio and was recently appointed by Governor Gerry Brown to serve on the State of California 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC). He is also Co-Director of the Human Rights and Migration program. His research focuses on the politics of immigration, citizenship, and migrant "illegality." As these issues have far-reaching implications, his work also explores the links between immigration, race and ethnicity, and the politics of identity. His first book, Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control, analyzes the immigration control policies of twenty-five Western immigrant-receiving democracies (Stanford University Press, 2015). In analyzing over 30,000 roll call votes on immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005, his second book, The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017), represents the most comprehensive analysis to date on the contemporary politics of immigration in the United States. 

Wong's research has been used by policymakers both in the U.S. and in Mexico, as well as by organizations that serve immigrant communities. Wong’s research has been used in several federal lawsuits to defend DACA, end family separation at the southern border, and prohibit indefinite child detention, among others. Wong and his work has been covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, NPR and major media outlets across the country in hundreds of articles.

He is also on the board of New American Leaders, the California Immigrant Policy Center, and the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. Wong also consults on campaigns elections and has run large-scale c3, c4, and independent expenditure campaigns specializing in mobilizing low-propensity voters of color and immigrant communities. He is lead evaluator for the Four Freedoms Fund civic engagement program and lead evaluator for the RISE Together Fund civic engagement program.

PhD, University of California, Riverside, 2011
Comparative Politics, Immigration Politics and Policy, Human Rights

Curriculum Vitae