University of Pittsburgh
February 6, 2013

Pitt Experts Available to Speak About Immigration

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—When President Obama unveiled the framework for sweeping reforms to U.S. immigration policy last week, his proposals were similar enough to those made by a bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators that Obama remarked that “a broad consensus is emerging,” leading many to speculate that comprehensive immigration reform may be achievable in the near future. University of Pittsburgh experts are available to comment on the effects of immigration in the United States and the potential consequences of reform.

Immigration and Public Health

Patricia Documet, assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, is available to comment on the public health consequences of illegal immigration and the likely effects of reform. These consequences can include illegal immigrants’ unwillingness to seek treatment for fear of deportation, as well as anxiety and depression stemming from immigrants’ illegal status, potentially leading to substance abuse. Documet, a native of Peru, has conducted extensive research on Latino males in the Pittsburgh area, and she completed her dissertation on Latino health care access in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She can be reached at 412-624-1601 or

Immigrants at Both Ends of the Economic Spectrum

Laura Macía, project coordinator with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, is available to comment on the current realities of migrants on both ends of the economic spectrum: undocumented low-skilled workers and doctoral graduates. She also can address how the plans laid out by U.S. senators and President Obama compare to other recent initiatives aimed at immigration reform. Macía earned her PhD in anthropology from Pitt in 2012. Her dissertation, “Dealing with Grievances: The Latino Experience in Pittsburgh,” won an honorable mention in the 2011-12 Eduardo Lozano Memorial Dissertation Award competition. She can be reached at 412-383-8982 or

Impacts of Reforms on Families

Yolanda Hernández-Albújar, adjunct professor of sociology at Pitt, is available to discuss the impact of possible immigration reforms on immigrant families, as well as potential changes in Americans’ perception of low-skilled immigrants were reforms to be enacted. Hernández-Albújar has taught courses at Pitt in Latin American culture and the sociology of the family; her research has focused on motherhood and Latin American migrant women in the Pittsburgh region. Hernández-Albújar can be reached at