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Where scholarship lacks, UC law professor aims to widen

With some determined digging, researchers can usually find relevant and helpful scholarship in their field of study. Although, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes researchers are faced with gaps in scholarship which may bring their own work to a halt. Yolanda Vázquez, associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, set out to answer the call for more scholarly work within her field of research, "crimmigration."  Crimmigration is the merging of criminal and immigration law enforcement, in the process creating a new structure of laws, procedures, and practices.                       

To start addressing these gaps in her field, Vázquez took advantage of several opportunities around the globe. Her recent international travels began in the United Kingdom, where she became a visiting academic at Oxford University based on her specialty in migration and crime policies.

Yolanda Vazquez

While in Oxford, she co-edited the book, "Race, Criminal Justice, and Migration Control: Enforcing the Boundaries of Belonging". The book is a product of her collaboration with  Oxford University professors Mary Bosworth and Alpa Parmar, and brought together international and interdisciplinary scholars to discuss the role of race and racism in crime and migration policies across the globe in a two day symposium held at the Centre for Criminology in Oxford.

"Race, Criminal Justice, and Migration Control" features chapters contributed by participating symposium scholars from across the globe, including India, Australia, Hong Kong, and Colombia.  The writers all have a global focus and examine the issues surrounding migrants from Mexico, Honduras, Syria, the Philippines, Western Balkans, and Indonesia, among others.

Vázquez explains that, “while migration and crime scholarship was increasing, not very many scholars were discussing how race and racism played into its development,” or if at all. She further explores this subject in her book,"Crime, Immigration and Racial Subordination".  The book will be part of the series, "Criminal Justice, Borders, and Citizenship", which is edited by Mary Bosworth (Oxford) and Katja Franko Aas (Oslo), and published by Routledge Press.

This summer, Vázquez traveled to Guatemala and Canada to present her research as well as meet with other scholars in the field to discuss ways in which migration and crime policies are a mechanism of global control, which has roots in imperialism and colonialism.  

Her next steps are to return to Europe to continue exploring these theories.  While in England and Greece, Vázquez will present her research and discuss how deportation regimes affects other countries, and, according to Vázquez, “how those relationships, especially when unequal, reinforce global hierarchies.” She explains that there is still a lot of work to be done in this field, and this is an untapped growing opportunity for JD students to explore.

Vázquez’s scholarship has reached researchers all over the world, including those in Russia, Iran, and South Korea. Her hope is for research on migration and crime policies, including issues of race, to increase and include global comparative policies and consequences. As immigration and discussions on immigration policies increase around the world, it is imperative that those in the legal profession understand the issues and corresponding policies.