I am an Associate Professor of Political Science (Comparative Politics) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. My research focuses on the politics of migration and citizenship in liberal democracies. I am particularly interested in the nexus between international migration and the politics of policy making and implementation, coercive state power and resistance, legal precarity, and gender and other identities. My book States Against Migrants: Deportation in Germany and the United States (2009) was published with Cambridge University Press. My work has also appeared in World Politics (winner of the APSA Migration & Citizenship Section’s best article award), Comparative Political Studies, Politics & Society, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, West European Politics, and Government and Opposition. My research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Social Science Research Council, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. I serve on the editorial boards of Politics & Society and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
I am currently working on a book manuscript that theorizes the politics of immigration policy making in liberal democracies. The project is based on case studies of key episodes of immigration reform in Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and the United States from the 1950s to the present. I also have under way a project on the ethics of immigrant selection (with Agustín Goenaga, Lund University). This study examines the group impacts produced by nominally liberal and non-discriminatory immigration policies and identifies the mechanisms through which these policies produce group biases along the lines of gender, race, class, and disability. A third project examines the impact of recent changes in cessation policy – the loss of refugee status – for permanent residents who arrived in Canada as refugees and are now faced with status precarity.
I was born and raised in Germany before spending many years living, working, and studying in Northern Ireland, England, and the United States. I live in Vancouver with my spouse Alan Jacobs and our delightful eight-year-old daughter. Before becoming a political scientist, I trained in social work and worked as a community worker. I hold Canadian and German citizenship.