Labor Studies student Dalia Lorena Gonzalez Lomeli with her Labor Studies professor Dr. Gaspar Rivera-Salgado at Undergraduate Poster Week.

By: Dalia Lorena Gonzalez Lomeli

As the academic year and graduation season concludes, one of the last accomplishments I was most proud of was presenting at UCLA’s Undergraduate Poster Week alongside my Labor Studies professor Gaspar Rivera-Salgado. Every year UCLA hosts the Undergraduate Research Week where over 1,000 students across multiple disciplines showcase their research. The purpose of Poster Day is for professors, students, friends, and family to learn about the research projects that students during the past academic year.

As an undocumented student from Mexico, I was interested in exploring immigration policies in the United States. Previously, I had read several articles mentioning that the Canada and Sweden were known to have more functional immigrations systems so I decided to center my research on a comparative study of family reunification policies of the U.S., Canada, and Sweden. On the qualitative side, I found that compared to the U.S., Canada and Sweden have had more flexible immigration policies that have changed over time.

On the quantitative side, I compared the percentage of visas issued through family reunification and the visa processing times. The U.S. issues most of its visas, 65%, through the family reunification category. However, even though 65% of the visas are issued to reunify families, there are backlogs in the visa processing times for this category that range from 2-22 years. On the other hand, Canada only issues 26% of its visas through the family reunification categories and the processing times for this categories range from 9-15 months. Similarly, Sweden issues 25% of its visas through the family reunification category and the processing times for this category average 15 months.

This research project was supported by the Academic Advancement Program’s UndocuBruins Research Cohort and the Labor Studies program. In addition to presenting during Undergraduate Poster Week, I also presented alongside my cohort members under the Undocumented Student Program’s Research Panel.

Through this experience and my undergraduate research I developed a lot of valuable skills that I will be bringing to USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center on Immigrant Integration as a Project Assistant. Ultimately, I hope to apply to graduate school for a dual degree in Public Policy and Law.