Gerardo Sandoval
Gerardo Sandoval

Gerardo Francisco Sandoval has been named the 2014 winner of the prestigious Chester Rapkin Award for best article from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Dr. Sandoval is the associate director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies at the University of Oregon and an assistant professor, Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management.

The Chester Rapkin Award Selection Committee announced October 16 that Professor Sandoval won the prize for the best paper for this award year in the Journal of Planning Education and Research for his article “Shadow Transnationalism: Cross-Border Networks and Planning Challenges of Transnational Unauthorized Immigrant Communities” (Vol 33 (1), pp. 176-193).

In making the announcement, the Chester Rapkin Award Selection Committee said, “Professor Sandoval’s paper identifies the deeply intertwined networks of immigrants, employers and state actors that support unauthorized immigration, while forcing migrants into the shadows of society where they are especially vulnerable. It is based on a case study of the transnational networks that link together migrants from El Rosario, a poor rural village in Guatemala, with Postville, Iowa, and the promise of jobs in a meatpacking plant there. In stunning detail, Sandoval documents the transnational immigrant recruitment approaches, flows of loans and remittances and smuggling networks that inextricably connect these two small towns. He also shows how the employer encouraged the recruitment and settlement of unauthorized immigrants as a source of vulnerable low-wage workers, and the state benefited from their presence by collecting payroll taxes and social security premiums despite their unauthorized status. Sandoval illustrates concretely how these most vulnerable immigrants engage in networks and practices which allow them to remain out of official sight, even as their presence is unofficially recognized and impacts many aspects of town life.

“The paper shines a spotlight on an important public policy issue that is of particular relevance for planners. Despite being in the shadows, unauthorized migrants are present in towns and cities across America, shaping housing and labor markets, public service demand and local community culture. By understanding the powerful confluence of interests that support unauthorized immigrants in the United States, planners can implement policies that reduce their vulnerability.  The Selection Committee learned a great deal from this paper and recommends it highly to planning faculty, students and practitioners.”

The Chester Rapkin Award for the Best Paper in the Journal of Planning Education and Research is awarded annually. All papers published in the journal are automatically considered. The editors of the journal appoint members of the award committee.

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