S. Deborah Kang is an associate professor in the Corcoran Department of History and a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on both the historical and contemporary aspects of US immigration and border policy.
Her first book, The INS on the Line: Making Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954 (Oxford University Press, 2017) traces the history of US immigration agencies on the US-Mexico border and earned six awards and accolades, including the Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government, the Theodore Saloutos Book Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize, the W. Turrentine Jackson Award from the Western History Association, and the Americo Paredes Book Award for Best Nonfiction Book on Chicano/a, Mexican American and/or Latino/a Studies. It was also recognized as a Finalist for the 2018 Weber-Clements Book Prize by the Western History Association.
Her second book is a history of US immigration legalization policies from the early twentieth century to the present. Kang also serves as a consultant for federal public defender offices throughout the country, preparing research briefs on the racial animus that informed the passage of laws criminalizing undocumented immigration. As a former Immigration Policy Fellow at the US Immigration Policy Center at the University of California, San Diego, she prepared working papers and briefs on the immigration enforcement policies issued by the Trump administration. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies.
Kang has provided expert commentary for documentary filmmakers and major media outlets and was recently featured in Time Magazine’s “The 25 Moments from American History that Matter Right Now” series. She is available for interviews on topics related to immigration law and policy, immigration history, and the US-Mexico border.