Suyapa Portillo Villeda

Suyapa Portillo Villeda is an assistant professor in Chicana/o Latina/o Transnational Studies at Pitzer College. Her work broadly focuses on social movements in Central America with a focus on Honduras. In particular, Portillo’s research centers on the intersections between labor, gender, and race in workers’ lives in the history of the banana export economy in Honduras and Central America.

Since the coup d’état in Honduras in 2009, Portillo has served as region expert in the media to attest to conditions in Honduras and the rest of Central America. Her expertise has been cited by CNN, NPR’s Take Two, and The Huffington Post.

Suyapa Portillo photo
Assistant Professor in Chicana/o-Latina/o Transnational Studies, Pitzer College

Areas of Expertise: Chicana/o Latina/o Transnational Studies, Labor, Gender, Ethnicity, Race, Honduras, Central America, History of Immigration and Migration in Central America, LGBTQ Community in Honduras

Location: Los Angeles, CA | Honduras

Contact Information:
Twitter: @SuyapaPV

As Heard On KPCC’s Take Two: “Young Migrants From Honduras Fleeing Drug and Gang Violence”

Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti

Dr. Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Pace University in New York, NY. She is an expert on how public policy is impacted by gender, race, ethnicity- specifically on how Latino youth are impacted by technology, the military system and immigration policy. Monforti is the former president of the APSA Latino Caucus- an association pushing for the promotion and protection of professional development of Latina/os in political science.  She has contributed to several news articles and broadcasts including NPR’s All Things Considered.


Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Pace University 

Areas of Expertise: Public Policy Impacts by Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Impacts of Technology, Military System and Immigration Policy on Latino Youth

Location: New York, NY

Contact Information:


Phone: 917-724-6769 (cell)


Heard on NPR’s All Things ConsideredIn Texas Borderland, Security Is No Simple Goal

Ron Hira

Ron Hira teaches in the Department of Political Science at Howard University. He is also a research associate with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He specializes in policy issues on offshoring businesses, high-skill immigration, and the American engineering workforce.

Hira has written widely on offshoring, high-skilled immigration, innovation, and the decline of the middle class. He is co-author of the book, Outsourcing America, which was a finalist for best business book in the PMA’s Benjamin Franklin Awards. The Boston Globe called Outsourcing America an “honest, disturbing look at outsourcing.” The Washington Postdescribed the book as a “thorough and easy to grasp primer on the wrenching outsourcing debate.” In addition, he has testified seven times before Congress on high-skilled immigration and outsourcing.

Ron Hira
Associate Professor in Political Science, Howard University

Areas of Expertise: High-Skilled Immigration, STEM Labor Markets, Offshoring and Outsourcing, Innovation Policy

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information:
Phone: 703-786-4472

Heard on NPR All Things Considered: Who’s Hiring H1-B Visa Workers? It’s Not Who You Might Think

Added June 2015

Maria Cristina Garcia

Maria Cristina Garcia is the Howard A. Newman Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. Her work focuses on refugees, immigration, exiles, and transnationals in the Americas. Her first book Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, provides an in-depth look at the migration of Cubans to the United States after Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

Her more recent work Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, and the United States, and Canada, is, in her own words, “a study of the individuals, groups, and organizations that responded to the Central American refugee crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, and helped reshape refugee policies throughout North America.”

Garcia has appeared on NPR.

maria cristina garcia

Howard A. Newman Professor in American Studies at Cornell University

Areas of Expertise: Immigration, U.S.-Cuban Relations, Latino U.S. History

Location: Ithaca, NY


Phone: (607) 255-0469


Heard on Morning Edition, ‘Young Migrants May Request Asylum, But It’s Hard To Get.’


Added January 2015

Last Verified: January 2015


John Carlos Frey

John Carlos Frey, Reporting Fellow for The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, is an award-winning freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker. His work focuses on migrant life and marginalized communities through his vast reporting along the U.S. Mexico border and Latino community. Through his reporting Frey has gained national and international notoriety and his work has even prompted federal and local investigations.

Frey’s investigative work was featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes, which garnered the CBS News program a recent Emmy Award nomination.  He has also recently completed two segments for Dan Rather Reports entitled, Angel of the Desert and Operation Streamline.  Frey has also recently completed an award-winning three-part series called “Crossing the Line” for PBS’ news magazine program, ”Need to Know,” about the U.S. Border Patrol’s excessive use of force and serious problems within the ranks.

Frey has written for the Huffington Post,  Salon.comEl Diario and The Washington MonthlyThe Investigative FundThe Guardian and the Los Angeles Times.  Articles about his work have been published in publications such as The Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.


Reporting Fellow for The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute

Areas of Expertise: Documentary Filmmaking, U.S.-Mexico Border, Border Security, Immigration & Immigrants

Location: Los Angeles, CA, with frequent travel to NYC

Contact Info:

Phone: (213) 324-6101


Twitter: @johncarlosfrey

Heard on Latino USA:

For Bullets, It’s Open Borders

Lorella Praeli

Lorella Praeli is the Director of Advocacy and Policy for UnitedWeDream. Previously, she co-founded and directed Connecticut Students for a Dream and led the public advocacy campaign for the passage of the Connecticut in-state tuition bill. The bill was signed into law in 2012, making undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges.

Originally from Ica, Peru, Praeli immigrated to the United States at the age of 11 to receive medical treatment. After advocating for the adoption of anti-bullying measures at the legislative and community levels, she joined the student immigrant rights movement and came out as “undocumented and unafraid.”

Her advocacy efforts and leadership with United We Dream played a key role in forcing the Obama administration to deliver reprieve from deportation and work permits to 1.4 million DREAMers through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Praeli graduated summa cum laude from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology.

Director of Advocacy and Policy, UnitedWeDream

Areas of Expertise: Immigration Policy and Politics, Immigrant Youth Movement, DREAM Act, Youth Organizing

Location: Washington, DC

Contact Information: 

Phone: (202) 570-6441


Twitter: @lorellapraeli

Praeli on Up with Chris Hayes: ‘DREAMers’ coming out of the shadows

Mae Ngai

Mae Ngai (nye) is a professor of history and Asian American studies at Columbia University. According to her bio, she was previously “a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education.” She has written about immigration for organizations such as The New York Times, The Nation, and the Boston Review.

Ngai is the author of two books, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010).  She is also working on a third book, Yellow and Gold: The Chinese Mining Diaspora, 1848-1908.


Professor of History and Asian American Studies at Columbia University

Areas of Expertise: Immigration History and Policy, Asian American Studies, U.S. Legal and Political History, Citizenship, Nationalism

Location: New York City

Contact Info:

Phone: (646) 438-1701


You can listen to Ngai speak about border security on CCTV:

Tom Wong

Tom K. Wong is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University and a lecturer in the department of political science at UC Riverside. Wong has also contributed to the National Asian American Survey (led by Karthick Ramakrishnan.)

Wong is the founder of the Dream Project, “a non-profit oral history project led by current and former undocumented youths and allies.” According to his CV, he is working on a book called “Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control.”

Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego

Areas of Expertise: Comparative Politics, Immigration, Immigration Politics and Policy, Human Rights, Citizenship

Location: San Diego, CA

Contact Info:

Phone: (951) 907-9989


Twitter: @twong002

Heard on KPCC:

Take Two: Predicting how Congress will vote on immigration reform

Veronica Vargas Stidvent

Veronica (Ronnye) Vargas Stidvent can speak about law, politics, and policy trends in the Hispanic community. She is the Executive Director of The Center for Women in Law at The University of Texas at Austin. Stidvent has held roles in both federal government and higher education in Texas. She is also President of Stidvent Partners, a consulting firm founded in 2013.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree from UT and a law degree from Yale, Stidvent went on to serve as President George W. Bush’s special assistant for policy. She has also worked as assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and as a policy advisor in the Office of Managements and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In 2016, Stidvent was appointed to the State of Texas Governor’s Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs.

Chancellor of Western Governors University (WGU) Texas

Areas of Expertise: Immigration Policy and Reform, Latino Politics, Law, Business, Hispanic Culture and Identity, Hispanic Leadership

Location: Austin, TX

Contact Information:
(512) 673-3878
Phone (CWL office): (512) 232-5166

Heard on NPR: For a complete list, click here.

Tell Me More: Latinos Fuel More Than Half The U.S. Population Growth

Heard on KUT:

Added January 2013. Last updated January 2021.