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Katherine Fennelly

Professor Emerita of Public Affairs, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Chapter Member: New York City SSN

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About Katherine

Fennelly's research has focused on immigration and public policy. Overarching themes in her work include attitudes toward immigrants, and the preparedness of communities and public institutions to adapt to demographic changes. During her career at the Humphrey School, she consulted with countless nonprofit organizations and foundations interested in the integration of immigrants and refugees, and gave frequent talks on these topics to civic groups and the media. At various times she has served as a member of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs Midwest Coalition on Immigration and the Region's Future, a Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Princeton University, a Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, a Willy Brandt Professor of International Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Malmo, Sweden, and a Scholar in Residence at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Italy. She is now based in New York City, where she continues to teach courses on Immigration, Health, and Public Policy, and to volunteer as a Spanish-English interpreter and legal advisor to local immigrant-serving organizations. 

In the News

Research discussed by Linda Larson, in "No Reason to be Afraid of Immigrants," SC Times, May 10, 2018.
Opinion: "Story Wrongly Blamed ‘Aliens’ for Crowded Jails," Katherine Fennelly, Star Tribune, October 15, 2011.
Opinion: "Myths Hinder Rational Talk about Immigration," Katherine Fennelly, Minnesota Public Radio News, August 17, 2010.
Interviewed in "Interview on implementation of Arizona bill SB 1070," Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 2010.
Interviewed in Interview on Africans in Minnesota BBC America, June 21, 2010.
Interviewed in Interview on immigrants in Minnesota Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2010.
Interviewed in Interview on recent immigration patterns across the U.S. BBC News, June 7, 2010.
Interviewed in The Arizona Immigration Bill Minnesota Access, May 16, 2010.
Opinion: "The Economic Impacts of Immigrants," Katherine Fennelly, Eventos, May 10, 2010.
Interviewed in "Immigration: The Key to Minnesota Growth and Prosperity," MinnPost, May 5, 2010.
Interviewed in "What Does the Morality of Americans Have to Do with Immigration in America?," Huffington Post, January 28, 2010.
Interviewed in "Interview on Arizona Immigration bill," Fox 9 TV News, April 26, 2009.


"Focus on Minnesota: The Economic and Social Impacts of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)," The Minneapolis Foundation, June 1, 2016.

Analyzes the projected economic and fiscal impacts of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) for the state of Minnesota. 

"The US Congressional Immigration Agenda: Partisan Politics, Policy Stalemate and Political Posturing" (with Kathryn Pearson and Silvana Hackett). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41, no. 9 (2015): 1412-1432.

Examines patterns of congressional action and inaction on immigration issues in the United States over two decades, with attention to the impact of partisan polarization and examples of the effects of public opinion on members' votes and the immigration agenda itself. Covers 391 immigration policy votes between 1993 and 2012. 

"Nationalism and Support for Immigrants' Rights among Adolescents in 25 Countries" (with Carolyn Barber and Judith Torney-Purta). Applied Developmental Science 17, no. 2 (2013): 60-75.

Identifies factors that influence restrictive views of nationalism and opposition or support for immigrants' rights during young people's formative years, among the generation that comprises today's young adults. Analyzes data from 77,000 native-born 14-year-olds from 25 countries surveyed in the IEA Civic Education Study of 1999.

"The Clothes I Wear," (with Ramon Hough), documentary film, April 30, 2011.
Provokes discussion and reflection on the ways in which ethnic dress affects perceptions of difference and prejudice.
"The Economic Impact of Immigrants in Minnesota," (with Anne Huart), Minnesota Business Immigration Reform Coalition, December 31, 2009.

Summarizes current national and local research on the economic impacts of immigration, written in language that is accessible to non-academics.

"American Attitudes toward Guest Worker Policies" (with Shayerah Illias and Christopher M. Federico). International Migration Review 42, no. 4 (2008): 741-766.

Analyzes public opinion toward a guest worker program and to compare predictors of support for guest worker and general immigration policies. Indicates that individuals who favor reducing the immigration level also tend to oppose instituting a guest worker program. Finds that residents of high-immigration states and Latinos were more likely to support a temporary worker program. 

"Impediments to Integration of Immigrants: A Case Study in Minnesota" in America’s Twenty-First Century Immigrant Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburbia, edited by Audrey Singer, Caroline B. Brettell and Susan W. Hardwick (Brookings Institute Press, 2008), 200-224.
Reports that the numbers of foreign-born residents in most Twin Cities suburbs are small but rapidly increasing, and that they and their children are subject to patterns of residential and school segregation that have served as barriers to U.S.-born Latinos and African Americans for years.
"Prejudice toward Immigrants in the Midwest" in New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration, edited by Douglas S. Massey (Russell Sage Press, 2008).
Finds that many Americans in rural communities have friendly relations with some individual immigrants while simultaneously harboring resentment and supporting broad negative stereotypes of groups.
"Rural Residence as a Determinant of Attitudes toward U.S. Immigration Policy" (with Christopher Federico). International Migration 46, no. 1 (2008): 151-190.
Shows that differences in perceptions of the “costs” of immigration explain much of the difference between rural and urban residents’ support for restrictive immigration policies.