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Immigration Experts

Immigration Experts


Immigration continues to be an issue after decades of wrangling by both major political parties. Following is a list of SMU experts by subject. Contact SMU News & Communications at or 214-768-7650 for interviews.

Politics and Trends

Matthew WilsonMatthew Wilson: "One interesting aspect of this debate will be the increasing tension between city governments and state governments, including here in Texas. A lot of red states contain very blue cities, with significant numbers of illegal immigrants. City and state elected officials face very different political pressures in these cases. It will be interesting to see the extent to which state legislatures and governors try to play "hardball" with recalcitrant cities that seek to be "sanctuaries," either officially or de facto. . . . "

Caroline BrettellCaroline Brettell: An internationally recognized immigration expert, she can discuss how the technology boom affects immigration, trends of new immigration gateway cities such as Dallas, Atlanta and Minneapolis and the challenges of women immigrants. Her research interests include anthropology of Europe; migration and ethnicity; folk religion; and cross-cultural perspectives on gender.


Natalie NanasiNatalie Nanasi: "“The students are going to see how important lawyers are in ensuring justice,” said Nanasi, who lead a team of law students in assisting undocumented immigrant and refugee women and children at the Karnes City Family Detention Center over spring break 2017. Read the full story. She teaches and supervises students who represent gender-based violence victims and those involved in immigration issues.

George Martinez George A. Martinez: A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Martinez’ legal expertise has focused on Latino civil rights, bilingual education, diversity, assimilation and the law and the Mexican-American litigation experience. He is the author of A Reader on Race, Civil Rights and American Law: A Multiracial Approach.

Human Rights

Rick HalperinRick Halperin: video icon “Our country has a legal and moral responsibility to not send immigrants back to their country of origin, where they face repression or death. It’s not the emotional answer people feel we have to have, but that is our obligation . . .”

Roberto Corona Roberto Corona: As community outreach coordinator for SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, he primarily focuses on issues of migration and poverty, including challenges faced by day laborers. A native of Michoacan, Mexico, he is president and founder of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an organization dedicated to immigrants’ integration and community empowerment.

Human Trafficking/Border Security

Jim Walters of the SMU Police DepartmentJim Walters: Assistant police chief at SMU, he is Southern Border Liaison for the U.S. Department of Justice. He coordinates the work of SMU professors and students to provide human trafficking-related research for the DOJ and helps provide training in trafficking awareness and recovery practices to law enforcement personnel and communities in the U.S. and Mexico.


Robert LawsonRobert Lawson: “There is a lot of worry that more immigration will put excessive pressure on the welfare state driving up government spending and taxation. Using data for over 100 countries, we find that higher levels of immigration actually tend to result in less government spending. . .


Harold J. RecinosHarold J. Recinos: "The great mystery missed by those who insist on turning away unaccompanied minors crossing the border is that God is already bound up with their lives and inviting American society to generous self-offering. The offer of food and shelter to children coming from Central America that are defenseless against abuse and hardship is an act of welcome and care . . . "