S. Deborah Kang
Office Hours: Mondays, 4:30-5:30pm
Field & Specialties
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
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.
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
“Sovereign Mercy: The Legalization of the White Russian Refugees and the Politics of Immigration Relief," Journal of American Ethnic History, forthcoming.
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).
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).
AMICUS BRIEFS AND DECLARATIONS
Brief of Amicus Curia Dr. S. Deborah Kang in Support of Defendant-Appellant for Reversal, United States of America v. Jose Luis Amador-Bonilla, No. 22-6036 (10th Cir. August 2, 2022)
Brief of Amicus Curiae Dr. S. Deborah Kang in Support of Defendant-Appellant for Affirmance, United States of America v. Gustavo Carrillo-Lopez, No. 21-10233 (9th Cir. April 14, 2022)
Brief of Amicus Curiae Dr. S. Deborah Kang in Support of Defendant-Appellant for Reversal, United States of America v. Manuel Rodrigues-Barios, No. 21-50145 (9th Cir. March 21, 2022)
Affidavit of Dr. S. Deborah Kang, Associate Professor, University of Virginia, United States v. Marciano Munoz-De La O, Case No. 2:20-cr-00134-RMP (E.D. Wash., December 22, 2021) (103-page report tracing the racist origins of 8 U.S.C. 1326.)
Affidavit of Dr. S. Deborah Kang, Associate Professor, University of Virginia, United States of America v. Darwin Lopez Ramos, Case No. 2:18-cr-00112-AWA-DEM (E.D. Va. December 6, 2021) (100-page report tracing the racist origins of 8 U.S.C. 1326.)
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 tracing the racist origins of 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 tracing the racist origins of 8 U.S.C. 1326.)
WORK IN PROGRESS
“The Legal Innovations of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1917-1946,” in Migration and Borders in North America: Views from the Twentieth Century, edited by Graciela Martínez-Zalce and Mónica Verea (forthcoming, University of Texas Press).
Danielle Battisti and S. Deborah Kang, eds., The Hidden Histories of Unauthorized European Immigration in the United States (under contract with University of Illinois Press).
“An Equal Protection Argument for Immigrants: Race, Racism, and the Legal History of 8 U.S.C. 1326” (in preparation).
S. Deborah Kang, Pathways to Citizenship: A History of Immigration Legalization in the United States, 1906-1986 (in preparation).
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
Immigration History from 1492 to the Present
Immigration Policy History
North American Borderlands History
United States History
Internet and Popular Press Publications
S. Deborah Kang, "TPS for Ukrainians is good. But our selective approach to refugees excludes many," Washington Post, March 4, 2022.
S. Deborah Kang, “Border Fiction Made Real: How Search and Seizure Laws Degrade on the 100-Mile Border Zone,” KCET Artbound, November 12, 2019.
S. Deborah Kang, “The History of Citizenship Day is a Reminder That Being an American Has Always Been Complicated,” Time Magazine, September 17, 2019.
Carly Goodman, S. Deborah Kang, and Yael Schacher, “How advocates can defeat Trump’s latest assault on asylum seekers,” Washington Post, July 18, 2019.
S. Deborah Kang, “Annual Meeting Preview: The Academic #MeToo Movement: Scholars, Advocates, and Solutions to the Problems of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the Academy," OAH Insights, Organization of American Historians, January 7, 2019.
S. Deborah Kang, “The US Begins Mass Deportation of Mexican Migrants,” “7 Moments that Changed America, ”Time Magazine, July 9, 2018.