Angela Garcia, a female-presenting person, smiles towards the camera in a library.

Angela S Garcia, PhD

Assistant Professor; Associated Faculty, Sociology

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Office Location: W009

Areas of Expertise
Government and Policy
Race, Ethnicity, and Culture
Crown Family School Affiliations
UChicago Affiliations
Center for Latin American Studies
Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
Katz Center for Mexican Studies
Population Research Center
Center for International Social Science Research

Angela García’s research interests include international migration, law and society, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, social policy, and mixed and comparative methods. García studies the consequences of socio-legal inclusion and exclusion for undocumented immigrants across the United States, Mexico, and Spain. Focusing on subnational (state and local) immigration laws and executive administrative action, she charts how immigrants’ everyday lives, incorporation, and well-being are shaped by the legal contexts in which they reside.

García’s book, Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law (University of California Press 2019), comparatively analyzes the effects of accommodating and restrictive local immigration laws from the perspective of undocumented Mexican immigrants, the primary targets of these measures in the US. Her work has been published in Social Problems, ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and International Migration.

García’s research has earned awards from the American Sociological Association's International Migration Section and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics.  Her work on the lives of undocumented immigrants in restrictive destinations was cited in a 2015 amicus brief filed by states to the Supreme Court of the United States in support of the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) executive actions.

See all media stories featuring Angela S Garcia

García, Angela S. 2019. Legal Passing: Navigating Undocumented Life and Local Immigration Law. Oakland, CA: University of California Press (April 2019 release date).

  • Komarovsky Book Award, Eastern Sociological Society (2021)
  • Distinguished Book Award, Midwest Sociological Society (2021)
  • Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award, American Sociological Association, Racial and Ethnic Minorities section (2021)
  • Distinguished Book Award (honorable mention), American Sociological Association, Latina/o Sociology section (2021)
  • Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award, American Sociological Association, International Migration section (2020)
  • Reviewed in American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, International Migration Review, Law & Society Review, Social Forces
  • Author-meets-critics at Law and Society Association (2020), Midwest Political Science Association (2021), American Sociology Association (2021)


García, Angela S. 2021. “Undocumented, not Unengaged: Local Immigration Laws and the Shaping of Undocumented Mexicans’ Political Engagement.” Social Forces. 99(4): 1658-1681.

Wong, Tom, Angela S. García, and *Carolina Valdivia. 2018. "The Political Incorporation of Undocumented Youth." Social Problems.

FitzGerald, David S., David Cook-Martín, Angela S. García, and *Rawan Arar. 2018. "Can You Become One of Us? Legal Selection of 'Assimilable' Immigrants." Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies. 44(1): 27-47.

García, Angela S. and Leah Schmalzbauer. 2017. "Placing Assimilation Theory: Mexican Immigrants in Urban and Rural America." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 672(1): 64-82.

García, Angela S. 2017. "Labour Market Limbo: The Uneven Integration of Co-Ethnic Argentines in Spain." International Migration. 55(1): 175-188.

Wong, Tom and Angela S. García. 2016. "Does Where I Live Affect Whether I Apply? The Contextual Determinants of Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." International Migration Review. 50(3): 699-727.

García, Angela S. 2014. "Hidden in Plain Sight: How Unauthorized Migrants Strategically Assimilate in Restrictive Localities." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 40(12): 1895-1914.

García, Angela S. 2013. "Return to Sender? A Comparative Analysis of Immigrant Communities in 'Attrition through Enforcement' Destinations." Ethnic and Racial Studies. 36(11): 1849-1870.

García, Angela S. 2017. "Illegal Lives: The Effects of Local Immigration Restrictions on Intimate Relationships." In Forced Out and Fenced In: Immigration Tales from the Field. ed. Tanya Golash-Boza. New York: Oxford University Press.

García, Angela S. 2014. "Law of the Land: Ethnic Selection in 16 Latin American Countries." In Culling the Masses: The Democratic Roots of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas, by David S. FitzGerald and David Cook-Martín. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

García, Angela S., Gloria Molina-Estolano, Mohammad Qureshi, Fernando Riedel, Rafael Solís, and Estefanía Castillo Balderas. 2013. "'They Want Us to Go Back to Mexico: Living Under the Radar." In The Wall Between Us: A Mixteco Community in Mexico and the US, ed. David S. FitzGerald, Jorge Hernández Díaz, and David Keyes. La Jolla: Center for Comparative Immigration Studies.

García, Angela S., Kathleen Griesbach, Jessica Andrade, Cristina González, and Guillermo Yrizar. 2011. "Pressure from the Inside: The Subnational Politics of Immigration." In Recession without Borders: Mexican Migrants Confront the Economic Downturn, ed. David S. FitzGerald, Rafael Alarcón, and Leah Muse-Orlinoff. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.

García, Angela S., and Alex Barreno. 2007. "Tunkaseño Settlement in the United States." In Mayan Journeys: The New Migration from Yucatán to the United States, ed. Wayne Cornelius, David S. FitzGerald, and Pedro Lewin Fischer. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.


Garcia, Angela S., Yunuen Rodriguez-Rodgriguez, and Juan Contreras. 2021. “Violence Here and Violence There: How Compound Violence Drives Undocumented Mexicans’ Migration to and Settlement in the United States.” Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies


Angela S. García is a sociologist and Assistant Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.  Her research interests include international migration, law and society, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, social policy, and mixed and comparative methods. 

At the University of Chicago, García is Associate Faculty Member in the Department of Sociology (by courtesy). She is an Associate at the Population Research Center; Fellow at the Center for Health Administration Studies; and Faculty Affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; the Katz Center for Mexican Studies; and the Center for Latin American Studies.  At the University of California San Diego, she is an External Research Associate with the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies.  She is also a Scholar Affiliate with the Scholars Strategy Network.

García holds a PhD in Sociology from the Department of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego and a MA in Latin American Studies, also from UCSD.