Fellows & Grantees

Wayne Cornelius

Abe Fellowship 1991
Project Title
Controlling Illegal Immigration in Industrialized Societies: Japan and the U.S. in Comparative Perspective
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award)
Professor, Political Science, University of California / San Diego


Wayne A. Cornelius is the Theodore Gildred Distinguished Professor of Political Science and US-Mexican Relations, emeritus, at the University of California, San Diego, as well as an emeritus professor in the UCSD School of Medicine’s Division of Global Public Health. He is currently a faculty fellow in politics at Reed College. He is an expert on immigration policy in the US, Spain, and Japan, as well as Mexican politics and development. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nearly 300 publications dealing with these subjects, including 15 books on Mexican migration. His most recent book is The New Face of Mexican Migration (2016; Spanish edition, 2018).
His most recent research, supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, focuses on Mexico as a country of emigration and transit for Central American migrants. A frequent contributor to national news media, he has written recently on immigration issues for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and The Conversation. His research has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Canada’s Globe and Mail. He has appeared twice on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” as well as PBS’ “NewsHour” and “Frontline,” the NBC, CBS, and ABC nightly news programs, CNN, and the BBC World Service. Recent public lectures include UCLA, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas (Dallas and Arlington campuses), Reed College, Dickinson College, and the College of Wooster. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the College of Wooster and earned his PhD in political science at Stanford University.
He has taught at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Oxford University, and the UCSD. He has received an Abe Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council and Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. He has been a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a faculty fellow at Stanford University, the University of Tokyo, and the Institute for Labor Studies in Bonn, Germany. He has received six national and local awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching from the University of California and MIT. Fluent in Spanish, he did field research with his students in rural Mexico nearly every year from 1976 through 2015.
Cornelius was the founding director of UCSD’s nationally recognized Mexican Migration Field Research and Training Program. He was also the founding director of two internationally prominent, interdisciplinary research centers based at UCSD: the Center for US-Mexican Studies and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. He is a former president of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), the world’s largest, cross-disciplinary organization of scholars specializing in Latin America. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Wooster in 2009. In 2012 Mexican President Felipe Calderón awarded him the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest decoration for foreign citizens, in recognition of lifetime contributions to immigration research and improvement of US-Mexican relations. In 2015 the University of California awarded him the Dickson Prize for distinguished post-retirement contributions to student training, research, and national and community service.