The Immigration Initiative is located at Harvard University and led by an interdisciplinary group of scholars, practitioners, and students. In addition to IIH staff, an Executive Committee of Harvard faculty provides input on programming and activities. And a National Advisory Board, consisting of immigration experts in policy and practice, provides regular feedback on activities and dissemination efforts. 

Also, a larger group of Harvard and Boston-area faculty interested in the Initiative’s mission, goals and activities serve as Faculty Affiliates, and a small group of Harvard students make up a Student Advisory Board.


Roberto G. GonzalesRoberto


Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Roberto G. Gonzales is professor of education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social inequality, and stems from theoretical interests at the intersection of race and ethnicity, immigration, and policy. In particular, his research examines the effects of legal contexts on the coming of age experiences of vulnerable and hard-to-reach immigrant youth populations.

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Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press), is based on an in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for twelve yearsTo date, Lives in Limbo has won five major book awards, including the Society for the Study of Social Problems C. Wright Mills Award, the American Education Research Association Outstanding Book Award, and the Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Award. It has also been adopted by several universities as a common read and is being used by a couple dozen K-12 schools in teacher and staff training. In addition, Professor Gonzales’ National UnDACAmented Research Project has surveyed nearly 2,700 undocumented young adults and has carried out 500 in-depth interviews on their experiences following President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This fall, he is teaming up with several colleagues to investigate educator responses to school climate issues stemming from immigration policies.

His work has been has been featured in top journals, including the American Sociological ReviewCurrent Anthropology, and the Harvard Educational Review as well as in the New York TimesWashington PostLos Angeles TimesWall Street Journal, TIME magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and Chronicle of Higher Education.

Gonzales is an associate editor for the journal Social Problems and a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also participates in a transition to adulthood research network. Prior to his faculty position at Harvard, Gonzales held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and at the University of Washington. He received his B.A. from the Colorado College, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Irvine. His research is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WT Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.

Jennifer Allsopp

Jennifer Allsopp

Coordinator and Postdoctoral Fellow in International Migration

Jennifer Allsopp is postdoctoral fellow at the Immigration Initiative at Harvard and Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is also a research associate with the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and a regular advisor to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee. Jennifer's research explores the relationship between immigration control, welfare and wellbeing, with a particular focus on gender and aging. She has also worked on a range of comparative studies in international migration, and is currently collaborating with colleagues across five continents to develop a new toolkit for ethical and effective migration research partnerships. 

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A keen advocate of collaborative working, Jennifer recently co-authored a book, Policing Humanitarianism: EU Anti-Smuggling Policies and their Impact on Civil Society (Hart, 2019) which explores the nexus between the anti-smuggling policies of the European Union’s Home Affairs agencies and its Member States, and the policing and criminalization of humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees. It reports on extensive fieldwork which she conducted in Hungary and Serbia, Italy, Greece, the UK and France between 2015 and 2018 at the height of the so-called European ‘refugee crisis’. Her forthcoming book, Youth Migration and the Politics of Wellbeing (Bristol University Press, 2020) is co-authored with Dr Elaine Chase. It is the product of a cutting-edge four-year participatory research project, Becoming Adult, which examined the wellbeing trajectories of over 100 unaccompanied young migrants and refugees in Europe. Jennifer is also working on a monograph, Men, Power and Borders, which will bring together a decade of research on the gendered nature of migration as a lived experience, in addition to exploring borders as sites of policing and control where gender identities are performed and contested. 

Jennifer previously worked as a research fellow with the London International Development Centre Migration Leadership Team (LIDC-MLT) where she co-developed a participatory strategy for global migration research for the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social, and Arts and Humanities Research Councils. As part of this work, Jennifer co-convened migration conversations with a range of stakeholders in 12 locations around the world including in Delhi, Nairobi, Medellin, London, New York, Thessaloniki, Barcelona, Brussels, Beirut and Johannesburg. Jennifer has previously worked for the United Nations; as a strategist with a range of non-for-profits; as a researcher at the Universities of Oxford, Exeter, Birmingham, Queen Mary and the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London); and as a consultant with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). For six years, she worked as a commissioning editor for the human rights and social justice platform openDemocracy 50.50 where she reported on questions of gender equality, social justice and migration from around the world. 

Jennifer holds a PhD in Comparative Social Policy from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, and an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the Department of International Development, also at the University of Oxford. 

Isaiah ApplbaumSophie

Research Assistant

Isaiah Applbaum is a student in the Harvard - New England Conservatory of Music joint degree program studying Social Studies and cello performance. Isaiah’s thesis research looks at the experiences of LGBTQ migrants who have been detained while seeking asylum in the U.S. Isaiah was a director of Y2Y Harvard Square, a youth homeless shelter, coordinating partnerships among youth and housing programs in Greater Boston and serving on the Board of Directors. Isaiah currently codirects Contact Peer Counseling at Harvard. As a cellist, Isaiah aims to create interdisciplinary art that inspires and questions. Isaiah loves libraries, new music, and all 16 Beethoven string quartets.


Ariana Aparicio AguilarAriana_02 

Research Assistant

Ariana was born in Mexico City, Mexico and came to the United States at the age of four. She grew up in Northern California and graduated with distinction and a BA in Sociology from Sonoma State University in 2011. While an undergraduate student at Sonoma State, she co-founded the first AB540 support group for undocumented students, which provided a safe space and resources for this student population. Four years later, Ariana returned to her alma mater and helped establish the creation of their UndocuResource Center. Ariana’s professional career is influenced by her own experiences navigating life and education in the U.S. as an undocumented, DACA recipient and first-generation Latina. She continues to advocate for the immigrant community by sharing her story for media outlets like Univision and the Women's March in San Francisco in 2018 to push for the passing of a comprehensive immigration reform for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Ariana recently obtained her Master’s Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her current work focuses on student affairs, first-generation students, and undocumented students at the graduate school level. Ariana’s ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Education. She hopes to utilize her education to facilitate the pipeline for underrepresented students to enter higher education in greater numbers.

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Immigration Fellows Program

The Harvard Immigration Project Fellows Program offers advanced level doctoral students at Harvard University the opportunity to receive additional training and support for one academic year.

Learn more about the Program



IIH works with other campus groups and organizations working on issues related to immigration to create a vibrant space on campus for intellectual exchange, community support, and action.

Learn more about our partners

Kaitlin RobersonKaitlin Roberson


Kaitlin is an Ed.M. candidate in the Human Development and Psychology program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is studying child advocacy. She was born and raised in a rural Missouri farming family, where she developed her Midwest sensibility, love for the outdoors, and heart for humanity. She is an avid triathlete, advocate for migrant rights, and mom to four kiddos (plus a puppy!) Before beginning her graduate studies at Harvard, Kaitlin received her B.A. in Education from Harding University and worked as an elementary classroom teacher, special education paraprofessional and community organizer. In June 2019, Kaitlin was recognized with a Governor's Citation by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for her efforts organizing and facilitating the first annual Refugee Innovation Fundraiser with Boston NGO Universal Human Rights International (UHRI).


Xiren WangXiRen Wang

Digital Content Producer

XiRen is a musician, DJ, radio producer, and voice artist with a political studies background. Her interest in world affairs is both product of her Third-Culture upbringing and ignition for her extensive travels through music and arts therapy based projects. Upon graduating Cum Laude from Queen's University in 2011, she started working for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. But by the time her contract came up for renewal, she took up the offer of a talent scholarship with the New York Film Academy, and relocated to New York instead, where she also trained in piano and composition at the Juilliard school. Believing that arts and story-telling are the most powerful forces to change the world, she forfeit her diplomacy career and pivoted to film and audio industries to continue to bridge cultures - one podcast, one film, one track at a time. She has worked with New York's largest ad agencies on campaigns that run from New York State to the Grammy's, to the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Park, but she's most proud of the creation of IIH's first podcast, Immigration and Democracy! XiRen is honored to be part of the IIH team in the capacity of digital content producer.