Born in San Salvador, El Salvador, Professor Leisy Abrego is a member of the first large wave of Salvadoran immigrants who arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Trained as a sociologist, her research and teaching interests—inspired in great part by her family’s experiences in the US—are in Central American immigration, Latina/o families, and the inequalities created by gender and by U.S. immigration policies.
Currently, Abrego is in the process of writing her first book manuscript, which highlights the role of gender and legal status in determining the well-being of Salvadoran transnational families separated by migration. Her early work examines how immigration and educational policies shape the educational trajectories of undocumented students. These projects won Best Graduate Student Paper Awards from the Sociology of Law and the Latina/o Sociology sections of the American Sociological Association. More recently, her work explores how different subsectors of Latino immigrants internalize immigration policies differently and how this shapes their willingness to make claims in this country.