Project 1. Immigrants’ Experience Accessing Welfare: Evidence from Brazil and Peru – Project 2. Immigrants’ Identity, Economic Contributions and Deportation Attitudes (Prof. Zoila Ponce de León)

3 students are sought for a project on “Project 1. Immigrants’ Experience Accessing Welfare: Evidence from Brazil and Peru – Project 2. Immigrants’ Identity, Economic Contributions and Deportation Attitudes” with Prof. Zoila Ponce de León that will begin on 6/10/2024 and last for 10 weeks

Project Description:

P1: Connecting the central themes of my research agenda: healthcare and immigration, one of my newest research projects will undertake the study of immigrants’ experiences accessing welfare services and benefits, specifically healthcare and social assistance. In several Latin American countries, all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, have the right to access basic healthcare services, and most of them qualify for social assistance programs. Yet, immigrants face several hurdles in their access. My project will delve into how perceptions of welfare deservingness translate into immigrants’ experiences. In a previous study of Brazil, I found that there are more negative attitudes toward immigrants’ access to social assistance compared to healthcare. Moreover, Venezuelan immigrants were seen as less deserving in comparison to Haitians and Bolivians. Although these results highlight important differences in how immigrants are perceived as “deserving,” they miss the immigrant experience. In this new project, I seek to understand how perceptions of welfare deservingness translate into immigrants’ experiences accessing healthcare services and conditional cash transfers in Peru and Brazil. P2: This research project explores a topic that has received limited attention in existing scholarship on immigration attitudes, but that is central to the political discourse of many countries: the deportation of undocumented immigrants. We examine how immigrants’ identity and economic characteristics interact to shape deportation attitudes. In particular, we focus on immigrants’ sexual orientation and economic contributions. We investigate the topic in two countries where immigration is a key political issue and where populist right-wing politicians have been successful in recent years: the United States and Brazil. In each country, we conducted original survey experiments with samples of respondents that mirror census quotas for several key socio-demographic indicators. Preliminary analysis reveals interesting findings: 1) immigrants’ identity characteristics play a limited but significant role in shaping support for deportation once the undocumented trait is considered, with gay immigrants facing stronger calls for deportation, 2) support for deportation is significantly stronger in the U.S. than in Brazil, and 3) in both countries, while economic contributions strongly decrease support for the deportation of immigrants with various profiles, the effect seems to be stronger for gay over straight immigrants. This suggests that immigrants who are targets of stronger prejudice benefit more when they are presented with positive traits. Further analysis will examine how different subgroups of respondents express support for immigrants with different profiles.


No prior coursework is necessary. Skills that would help include the following (but are not required): data collection, data analysis, revision of theoretical frameworks, experience with revision of academic work, interest in one or more of the topics and/or countries of study, and Spanish or Portuguese language skills. The students will have the opportunity to partake in political science research on two highly impactful topics: immigrants’ experience accessing welfare in Brazil and Peru, and immigration attitudes in Brazil and the U.S. Students will learn about data collection, analyzing datasets from surveys, constructing and revising graphs and tables, and reviewing relevant literature. The students will practice research techniques and scientific inquiry, gaining valuable research experience, which they may apply in future research endeavors in and out of the classroom.

Special Comments

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/10/2024

Estimated End Date: 8/16/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 3

Contact Information: Prof. Zoila Ponce de León (