Melina Juarez
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

I was born and raised in a small rural, farmworking community in California’s San Joaquin Valley. I am a PhD student of political science and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation doctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. I study the effects of public policy on immigrant health. I focus on immigrants of Latin American origin and my current projects focus specifically on the health of women and youth. My work aims at developing a critical understanding of the structures of power and privilege that inform policy and ultimately affect immigrant health.

I am currently involved in several projects using the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2015 Latino National Health & Immigration Survey. These include analyses of Latinos’ perceptions of discrimination, effects of detention/deportation on various health outcomes, developing the concept of ’street race,’ and the effects of punitive state immigrant laws on the health of Latinos and Latino immigrants. I am also working on two papers focused on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. I’m examining the labor effects of DACA on wages and how DACA has contributed to the creation of a labor grey zone creating the status of ‘legal illegality.’ Finally, I am working on developing a comprehensive framework for studying immigrant health that includes analysis of the socioeconomic, environmental, and political conditions of sending countries. This framework fuses facets of embodiment and historical trauma with theories of international relations that help investigate and deconstruct the roles neoliberalism and foreign policy play in influencing immigrant health.