S. Deborah Kang

Associate Professor

Field & Specialties

Immigration
Borderlands
Legal
Modern US

Education

Ph.D., United States History, University of California at Berkeley

M.A., Jurisprudence and Social Policy, University of California at Berkeley

B.A., College Scholar, Cornell University

Biography

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 wrote 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.

Publications

BOOKS AND EDITED VOLUMES

S. Deborah Kang, The INS on the Line: Making Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Jon Gjerde, Catholicism and the Shaping of Nineteenth Century America, edited with a Preface and Epilogue by S. Deborah Kang (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS

Tom K. Wong, Ph.D., S. Deborah Kang, Ph.D., Carolina Valdivia, M.A., Josefina Espino, Michelle Gonzalez, Elia Peralta, “How Interior Immigration Enforcement Erodes Trust in Law Enforcement,” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 17, n. 4 (2019), 1-14.

S. Deborah Kang, “Implementation: How the Borderlands Redefined Federal Immigration Law and Policy, 1917-1924,” California Legal History: Journal of the California Supreme Court Historical Society, vol. 7 (2012).

S. Deborah Kang, “Jon Gjerde’s Immigrant America,” in Norwegian American Essays 2010, edited by Øyvind Gulliksen (Oslo: Novus Forlag, 2011).

S. Deborah Kang, “Crossing the Line: The INS and the Federal Regulation of the Mexican Border,” in Bridging National Borders in North America, edited by Andrew Graybill and Benjamin Heber Johnson (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press,  2010).

POLICY BRIEFS

Krista Kshatriya, J.D. and S. Deborah Kang, Ph.D., “Walls to Protection: The Grim Reality of Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy,” Policy Brief (La Jolla: U.S. Immigration Policy Center, 2019).

Tom K. Wong, Ph.D., S. Deborah Kang, Ph.D., Carolina Valdivia, M.A., Josefina Espino, Michelle Gonzalez, Elia Peralta, “How Interior Immigration Enforcement Erodes Trust in Law Enforcement,” Working Paper No. 2 (La Jolla: U.S. Immigration Policy Center, 2019).

AFFIDAVITS/DECLARATIONS

Affidavit of Dr. S. Deborah Kang, Associate Professor, University of Virginia, United States of America v. Cadena-Salinas, Case No. 5:19-cr-00850-XR (W.D. Tex. September 21, 2021) (Sixty-five page report on the racial animus underlying 8 U.S.C. §1326.)

Affidavit of Dr. S. Deborah Kang, Anne Stark and Chester Watson Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at Dallas, United States of America v. Juan Rendon Rodriguez, Case No. 5:20-cr-00526-XR (W.D. Tex. April 26, 2021) (Forty-six page report on the racial animus underlying the legislative history of 8 U.S.C. §1326, the law criminalizing undocumented re-entry.)

Awards & Honors

Theodore Saloutos Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society, 2018

Henry Adams Prize, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2018

Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize, 2017

W. Turrentine-Jackson Book Prize, Western History Association, 2018

Ameríco Paredes Book Award for Nonfiction Book on Chicano/a, Mexican American and/or Latino/a Studies, Center for Mexican American Studies, South Texas College, 2018

Finalist, David J. Weber and Bill Clements Prize, Western History Association, 2018

Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2009

Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2008

Courses Taught

Immigration History from 1492 to the Present

Immigration Policy History

North American Borderlands History

United States History