Joanna Dreby

Examines impact of immigration policy on families and children

The World Within Reach
Contact the Office of Media Relations at (518) 956-8150

Joanna Dreby

Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Sociology

Immigration; families; children

Campus phone: (518) 956-8150
Campus email:


Joanna Dreby’s research primarily focuses on families, with specific expertise in research with Mexican migrants and with children. Her work includes a variety of qualitative methods, emphasizing ethnography, comparative research and in-depth interviews techniques.

She is author of the award-winning book Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and their Children (University of California Press 2010) and is co-editor of Family and Work in Everyday Ethnography (Temple University Press 2013).

Her research projects, conducted in both Mexico and in the United States, prioritize child-centered approaches. Along with interviews she has used content analysis, observations, surveys and drawings with young children.

Professor Dreby’s written work explores the themes of gender, work-family balance, child care, transnational ties, context-specific settlement patterns and return migration. Her most recent book, Everyday Illegal: When policies undermine immigrant families (University of California 2015) explores the impacts of immigration enforcement policies on families. The book as well as her award-winning article "The Burden of Deportation on Children in Mexican Immigrant Families" (Journal of Marriage and Family 2012), draws from a comparative study of Mexican families living in two new destination communities in central New Jersey and northeast Ohio.

Professor Dreby comes to academia with a background in social services and retains interest in community based work. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007.