Author Archives: caitlinpatler

About caitlinpatler

PhD Candidate, UCLA Department of Sociology; National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellow; UCLA Center for the Study of Women Paula Stone Legal Research Fellow. Scholar of immigration, labor, sociology of law, collective behavior and social movements, race and ethnicity


Caitlin Patler, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology at University of California, Davis. She is an Executive Committee Member of the Global Migration Center, a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research and the Human Rights Program, and an Advisory Committee member of the Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement.

CV available here.

Dr. Patler’s research addresses the origins and reproduction of inequality in the U.S. through an examination of laws, legal statuses, and law enforcement institutions as drivers of socioeconomic and health disparities. She is particularly interested in variations and changes in legal statuses and legal positionality—e.g., gaining/losing rights, experiencing increased/decreased levels of law enforcement—and how those changes impact mobility and wellbeing. Empirically, she focuses on individuals whose lives are deeply intertwined with the law—e.g., noncitizens and individuals with immigration and/or criminal law enforcement system contact. Dr. Patler also studies the spillover and intergenerational consequences of legal vulnerability for the health and wellbeing of young adults, youth, and children.

Dr. Patler uses multiple methodologies to answer research questions, most commonly designing, fielding, and analyzing original surveys and in-depth interviews in legally vulnerable populations that are unidentifiable in secondary data. To complement these original data collection efforts, she draws from population-level survey and administrative data. Dr. Patler recently co-authored an Op-Ed in the New York Times on child detention and an Amicus Brief for the US Supreme Court summarizing empirical research on DACA.

Dr. Patler has received multiple grants and awards for her research, including support from the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, Sociological Initiatives Foundation, and the American Sociological Association. She serves on the Editorial Board of Social Problems.

Dr. Patler received the 2021 Best Publication Award from the American Sociological Association Sociology of Mental Health Section for her paper “The Limits of Gaining Rights while Remaining Marginalized: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and the Psychological Wellbeing of Latina/o Undocumented Young Adults” (with Erin Hamilton and Robin Savinar). She received the 2019 Pacific Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Sociological Perspectives Award for her paper, “To Reveal or Conceal: How Diverse Undocumented Youth Navigate Legal Status Disclosure.” In 2018, she received the Distinguished Contribution to Research Article Award from the ASA Latina/o Sociology Section for her paper (co-authored with Whitney L. Pirtle) for, “From Undocumented to Lawfully Present: Do Changes to Legal Status Impact Psychological Wellbeing Among Latino Immigrant Young Adults?”.

Prior to joining the UC Davis faculty, Dr. Patler was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the UC Irvine Department of Criminology, Law and Society. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology, and her B.A. with College Honors in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies, from UCLA.

Dr. Patler’s research is informed by two decades of research-practice partnerships with legal and civil rights organizations focused on immigration detention, access to education for undocumented youth, and low-wage labor markets. She is currently a Special Projects Advisor for Immigrant Defense Advocates and a Data Committee member of the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice. She has volunteered with No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid organization on the U.S.-Mexico border.

CV available here.

*Select Recent Publications*

Patler, Caitlin and Altaf Saadi. 2021. “Risk of Poor Outcomes with COVID-19 Among Detained Immigrants: A Cross-sectional Study.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

Patler, Caitlin, Jo Haile, and Erin Hamilton. 2021.  “Paths to Mobility: A Longitudinal Evaluation of Earnings among Latina/o DACA Recipients in California.” American Behavioral Scientist.

Patler, Caitlin, Erin Hamilton, and Robin Savinar. 2020. “The Limits of Gaining Rights while Remaining Marginalized: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and the Psychological Wellbeing of Latina/o Undocumented Young Adults.” Social Forces.

  • Best Publication Award, American Sociological Association Sociology of Mental Health Section, 2021

Konrad Franco, Caitlin Patler, and Keramet Reiter. 2020. “Punishing Status and the Punishment Status Quo: Solitary Confinement in U.S. Immigration Detention Facilities, 2013-2017.” Punishment & Society. 

Patler, Caitlin, Shannon Gleeson, and Matthias Schonlau. 2020. “The Impact of Immigrant Legal Status and Human Capital on Legal Knowledge and Claims-Making in Low Wage and Unregulated Labor Markets.” Social Problems.

Gonzalez, Gabriela and Caitlin Patler. 2020. “The Educational Consequences of Parental Immigration Detention.” Sociological Perspectives.

Patler, Caitlin and Erin Hamilton. 2020 (June 18). “Supreme Court decision is welcome news for DACA recipients but program remains vulnerable.” Opinion-Editorial, CalMatters.

Hamilton, Erin, Caitlin Patler, and Robin Savinar. 2020. “DACA’s Mixed Impacts on Education and Employment among Young Adult Immigrants in California.”Social Problems

Patler, Caitlin, Altaf Saadi, and Hamid Yazdan-Panah. 2020. “Immigrant detention, COVID-19, and opportunities for action.” Co-published by UC Davis Global Migration Center, Physicians for Human Rights, and Immigrant Defense Advocates

Smith, Robert C., Caitlin Patler, Cecilia Menjívar, Douglas S. Massey, James D. Bachmeier, Elizabeth Aranda, Mary C. Waters, Frank D. Bean, Susan K. Brown, Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Leisy J. Abrego, Joanna Dreby, Francesc Ortega, Amy Hsin. 2019. “Amici CuriaeBrief of Empirical Scholars in Support of Respondents” Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in Nos. 18-587, 18-588, and 18-589 (DACA rescinding case)

Hibel, Leah and Caitlin Patler. 2019 (August 27). “What will Indefinite Detention Do to Migrant Kids? The Evidence is Clear: No Detention Center is Safe and Healthy for Children.” Opinion-Editorial, The New York Times.

Patler, Caitlin, Erin Hamilton, Kelsey Meagher, and Robin Savinar. 2019. “Uncertainty about DACA May Undermine its Positive Impact on Health for Recipients and their Children.”Health Affairs. 

Patler, Caitlin and Whitney N. Laster Pirtle. 2018. “From Undocumented to Lawfully Present: Do Changes to Legal Status Impact Psychological Wellbeing Among Latino Immigrant Young Adults?Social Science & Medicine. 


Contact Information

Caitlin Patler, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology, UC Davis

email: patler @
Twitter: @CaitlinPatler