Els de Graauw

Els de Graauw

Professor of Political Science, CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

About Els

De Graauw's research focuses on immigration, civil society organizations, urban politics, government bureaucracies, and public policy, with a focus on understanding how governmental and nongovernmental organizations build institutional capacity for immigrant integration and representation.


Refugee Resettlement Should Look Beyond First Job Placements

  • Anna Nicole Kreisberg
  • Shannon Gleeson

Helping the Growing Ranks of Poor Immigrants Living in America's Suburbs

  • Shannon Gleeson
  • Irene Bloemraad

In the News

Quoted by Shirin Ali in "Refugees in the US Can’t Retain Employment for Long: Study Says," The Hill, February 11, 2022.
Quoted by Peter Baker and Linda Qiu in "Inside What Even an Ally Calls Trump's 'Reality Distortion Field'," The New York Times, October 31, 2018.
Quoted by Richard Scheinin in "Affordable Housing 101: Why Not Build More Granny Units?," The Mercury News, July 26, 2016.
Interviewed in "Municipal Card Programs in the United States," KPFT 90.1, March 24, 2015.
Quoted by in "Why Did Prop. D Fail?," Mission Local, November 12, 2010.


"Explaining Refugee Employment Declines: Structural Shortcomings in Federal Resettlement Support" (with Anna Nicole Kreisberg and Shannon Gleeson). Social Problems (2022).

Analyzes the over-time employment declines that refugees in the United States face, highlighting three interrelated structural weaknesses in the federal refugee resettlement process that drive these declines: (1) retrenched resettlement funding, (2) a logic of self-sufficiency prioritizing rapid employment in generally undesirable and unstable jobs, and (3) siloed networks of refugee-serving organizations.

"The Illegality Trap: The Politics of Immigration & the Lens of Illegality" (with Michael Jones-Correa). Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 142, no. 3 (2013): 185-198.

Examines how the focus on undocumented immigration in contemporary immigration debates has serious negative consequences for both U.S. immigration policy and immigrants, including an overwhelming emphasis on enforcement; legislative gridlock and the failure of comprehensive immigration reform; constitutional conflict resulting from tensions between national, state, and local approaches to dealing with undocumented immigration; and the absence of federal policies addressing immigrant integration.

"Mayoral Leadership, Immigrant Sanctuary, and Multilevel Policy Dynamics in San Francisco" Territory, Politics, Governance (2021).

Analyzes immigrant sanctuary policies in San Francisco between 1985 and 2018 to theorize the role of mayors in developing, defending, and adjusting city efforts to shield undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities. Identifies two mayoral leadership strategies—facilitative and executive—that vary with the level of scrutiny mayors face, from state and federal officials, over their lenient treatment of undocumented immigrants.

"Funding Immigrant Organizations: Suburban Free Riding and Local Civic Presence" (with Shannon Gleeson and Irene Bloemraad). American Journal of Sociology 119, no. 1 (2013): 75-130.

Identifies, through an examination of municipal public funding for community-based organizations that serve disadvantaged immigrants in four cities in the Bay Area region of Northern California, the phenomenon of suburban free-riding where suburban officials rely on central city resources to serve immigrants, but do not build and fund partnerships with immigrant organizations in their own jurisdictions.