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Distinguished Professor of Political Science and U.S.-Mexican Relations, Emeritus, University of California, San Diego

Wayne A. Cornelius is an expert on comparative immigration policy and the mass politics of immigration, focusing on the U.S., Spain, and Japan, as well as Mexican politics and development. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nearly 300 publications dealing with these subjects, including 15 books on Mexican migration. His most recent book is The New Face of Mexican Migration (2016). A frequent contributor to national news media, he has written most recently on immigration for The Los Angeles Times. His research has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other nationally circulating newspapers, as well as on CBS’ “60 Minutes” (twice), PBS’ “NewsHour” and “Frontline,” the NBC, CBS, and ABC nightly news programs, CNN, and the BBC World Service. A summa cum laude graduate of The College of Wooster (Ohio), he earned his Ph.D. in political science at Stanford University. He has taught at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Oxford University’s Nuffield and St. Antony’s colleges, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Portland, and Dickinson College. He has also been a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Faculty Fellow at Stanford University, the University of Tokyo, and the Institute for Labor Studies (IZA) at the University of Bonn (Germany). He received six national and local awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching from the University of California and MIT. He did field research with his students on Mexican migration to the United States nearly every year from 1976 through 2015, from 2004-2015 as founding Director of UCSD’s nationally recognized Mexican Migration Field Research and Training Program. He was also the founding director of two internationally respected, interdisciplinary research centers based at UC San Diego: the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. He is an emeritus professor in the UCSD School of Medicine’s Division of Global Public Health, where he specialized in immigrant health. He is also Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, and the Theodore Gildred Professor of U.S.-Mexican Relations, Emeritus, at UCSD. He is the former President of the Latin American Studies Association, the world’s largest, cross-disciplinary organization of scholars specializing in Latin America. In 2012 President Felipe Calderón awarded him the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest decoration for foreign citizens, in recognition of lifetime contributions to immigration research and improvement of U.S.-Mexican relations. In 2015 the University of California awarded him the Dickson Prize for distinguished post-retirement contributions to student training, research, and national and community service. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


  • –present
    Professor of Political Science and U.S.-Mexican Relations, University of California, San Diego