About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 120-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Learn about our interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and specialized areas.
Student Quick Links:
USC Gould helps prepare you for a stellar legal career. You can pursue a JD degree, one of our numerous graduate and international offerings, or an online degree or certificate.
Participate in an unparalleled learning experience with diversity of people and thought. Get involved in the law school community and participate in activities that enhance your studies.
Student Quick Links:
We work closely with students, graduates and employers to support successful career goals and outcomes. Our overall placement rate is consistently strong, with 94 percent of our JD class employed within 10 months after graduation.
Our faculty is distinguished for its scholarship, as well as for its commitment to teaching. Our 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio creates an intimate and collegial learning environment.
- Alumni and Giving
Personal experience with immigration influences studies on migrant experience
USC Gould School of Law
- ABOUT USC GOULD
- A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
- + HISTORY OF USC GOULD
- LAW, RACE AND EQUITY
- + NEWS
- + EVENTS
- BOARD OF COUNCILORS
- CONSUMER INFORMATION (ABA REQUIRED DISCLOSURES)
- VISIT US
- SOCIAL MEDIA
- + CONTACT US
Friday, August 13, 2021
New research by Professor Emily Ryo aimed at guiding immigration law, policy
By Matthew Kredell
When Professor Emily Ryo was 11, she and her sister were separated from their parents for two years when the parents immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea. The experience influenced Ryo’s scholarly research toward immigration law and policy.
“My main motivation going to law school was to see if I could help my family,” Ryo says. “I went on to get a PhD because I wanted to explore the migrant experience, not just for people living in the U.S. but for people living abroad dreaming of coming to the U.S. and establishing new lives here.”
|Professor Emily Ryo published two recent research studies that she hopes will influence immigration law and policy.|
Research examines how migrant children fare in immigration system
The latter study in UCLA Law Review presents the first systematic empirical investigation of children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Reed Humphrey, a research associate at USC Gould, worked with Ryo on the paper.
Unaccompanied minors traveling to the U.S. enter the ORR’s custody at the U.S. border. Analyzing data on all migrant children in ORR custody between November 2017 and August 2019, Ryo and Humphrey found that these children are in the most vulnerable positions in their own countries.
“I think this study gives us a lot of food for thought in terms of considering what is in the best interests of these children, many of whom win asylum cases and end up settling permanently in the United States,” Ryo said.
Ryo accessed ORR shelters as a volunteer attorney and saw firsthand the effects of the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
“Visiting those facilities really had a tremendous impact on my desire and interest to find out more about who these children were and what happened to them after they entered the system,” Ryo said.
Punitive immigration policies and “unintended consequences”
Ryo’s research published in PNAS analyzes the effects of U.S. deterrence policies on individuals’ migration intentions and attitudes toward the U.S. immigration system.
Working in collaboration with the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University, Ryo obtained survey results from more than 6,000 individuals in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, the four countries with the largest unauthorized flow of immigrants into the United States.
The study found that punitive policies didn’t change people’s desires and willingness to try to enter the U.S., and that immigration detention may foster beliefs that the U.S. immigration system isn’t fair.
“The reason the article is titled the ‘unintended consequences’ is that these harsh punitive policies don’t have the effect that our policymakers want,” Ryo said. “Instead, they have the unintended consequence of spreading a deep distrust of our country abroad.”
Ryo’s studies could guide long-term solutions to the ongoing immigration crisis.
“I’m hoping my studies help educate lawmakers in what direction they ought to be going and also what issues are at stake in terms of the kind of care we should be providing, especially to these vulnerable populations,” she said.
- Next Article: New Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion envisions a path to healing
- Previous Article: Rising to the Challenge
‘The Best Beloved Thing is Justice’
June 1, 2023
New book by Gould alum Lisa Kloppenberg celebrates life of Judge and former Dean Dorothy W. Nelson
USC Gould Title IX trailblazer works to put more women in leadership roles
May 30, 2023
"If we can continue moving forward, the future is very bright," says Associate Dean Nickey Woods
USC Gould Commencement Day 2023 - Ceremony Videos
May 12, 2023
Join the USC Gould School of Law in celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2023!