Bradford Jones in his office

Meet the Immigration Policy Expert

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Culture, Resident Expert

Professor Bradford Jones focuses on Latinix politics and immigration policies and their effect on Latinx communities as well as their impact on psychological well-being. He wants to know how people develop their perceptions — compassion and negative ideas — toward Latinx individuals.

Jones, a professor of political science, first started teaching in 1994 at the University of Arizona and came to UC Davis in 2006.

“I believe that my research should be goal-oriented, not outcome-oriented. I can provide statistical data to people in regard to the migrant death crisis, but there would be no relevance to those who have not experienced it,” he said. “My research primarily focuses on changing the narrative in how people against immigration respond to it.”

In 2019, he published “Trump-Induced Anxiety Among Latina/os,” in which he and his team investigated whether Donald Trump’s presidency and his immigration positions produced increased deportation anxiety among the Latinx population. They found that for those who were noncitizens, there was a significant increase in anxiety to Trump’s narratives. Latinx citizens also expressed high levels of anxiety when they were reminded of Donald Trump’s priorities.

“When these threats are in the air, there is an insidious effect on Latinx families. It does not just affect immigrants; it affects everyone around them,” said Jones.

He said he hopes to change the narrative and the restrictivism over immigration, to a response that is more welcoming. He suggested that we ask ourselves why migrants attempt to come to the U.S. By contextualizing the migration process, we may be better able to humanize migrants.

“It’s a big ship to turn around, but I am hoping to be a small tug boat to push it,” he said. “I hope that my research can help humanize immigrants in a way that they are not often humanized in public discourse.”