Irene I. Vega, sociology assistant professor, studies the incorporation and exclusion of immigrants in Western democracies, like the United States. Three major foci undergird her work: educational inequalities, immigration politics, and immigration enforcement. For the past two years - as a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the UCI Department of Criminology, Law and Society - she conducted an in-depth examination of immigration control at the U.S.-Mexico border. This work is the focus of her current book project which bridges parallel literatures on immigration control, representative bureaucracy, and procedural justice.

She’s excited to join UCI and the Department of Sociology which is highly recognized for its scholarship on immigration. Across campus, a cross disciplinary focus on immigration from different perspectives opens up many areas for further collaboration. And UCI’s institutional commitment to inclusive excellence marked a major reason for her decision to join the campus faculty.

“UCI is a leader in serving the historically underserved,” she says. “Seeing the initiatives and efforts UCI has spearheaded and successfully implemented is impressive to someone interested in joining a university with a commitment to access and equity in higher education.” 

Beginning in the fall, she will be teaching courses on immigration, race and ethnicity, sociology of law, and diversity in policing.

Vega completed her undergraduate degrees in political science and Chicana/o studies and a master’s in higher and postsecondary education at Arizona State University. She also received her master’s in educational policy and social context at UC Irvine before completing her Ph.D. in sociology at UCLA.

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