I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. My research examines the links between legal status and the reproduction of inequality, with a focus on undocumented migrants, stateless persons, and refugees.
Omitted Lives: Citizenship and the Politics of the Civil Registration Gap (Book Project)
Functional, inclusive civil registration systems are instrumental to governments in delivering basic rights and services, as well as informing public policy. Yet, millions worldwide remain uncounted. In my book project, entitled Omitted Lives, I explore both the causes of being uncounted, and its micro- and macro-level consequences for individuals’ life chances and countries’ development aspirations. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Malaysia, I show how uncounted populations are not always the product of a lack of state capacity, as has been largely assumed by social scientists and development actors. Rather, who gets counted, and how, are inherently political choices that are often made in ways that leave migrants and racial minorities without the means to prove their legal personhood.
My other work draws on a range of methods, including survey data analysis and community action research, to examine the stratifying impacts of documentation and legal status. Projects explore: 1) the impacts of previous undocumented experience on the naturalization propensities of immigrants in the United States (published in the International Migration Review); 2) the relationships between migration, legal status, and health among Mexican immigrants to the United States (published in the International Migration Review); 3) the use of documentation in the symbolic erasure and expulsion of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar; 4) stateless children and immigration control regimes (forthcoming in positions: asia critique); and 5) how access to driver’s licenses matter for undocumented immigrants, in collaboration with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (funded by an American Sociological Association Sydney S. Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy Community Action Research Initiative Award, and published in Contexts).
I am currently working on 2 new SSHRC Insight Grant-funded projects:
- “Sons and Daughters of the Soil: The Making of Citizens and Stateless Persons in Post-Colonial Malaysia.” With Jamie Liew (PI).
- “Mapping the Discursive and Institutional Landscape of ‘Birth Tourism’ and its Perceived Attack on Canadian Birthright Citizenship.” With Megan Gaucher (PI), Yin-Yuan Chen, and Jamie Liew.
Cheong, Amanda R. (Forthcoming). “Deportable to Nowhere: Stateless Children & Challenges to State Logics of Immigration Control.” positions: asia critique.
Cheong, Amanda R. & the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund. (2021). “How Driver’s Licenses Matter for Undocumented Immigrants.” Contexts 22-27: https://doi.org/10.1177/15365042211035330.
Cheong, Amanda R. & Baltazar, Mary Anne K. (2021). “Too Precarious to Walk: A ‘Three Delays’ Framework for Modeling Barriers to Maternal Healthcare and Birth Registration Among Stateless Persons and Irregular Migrants in Malaysia.” Genus: Journal of Population Sciences 77: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41118-021-00129-3. [Open Access]
Cheong, Amanda R. (2021). “Legal Histories as Determinants of Incorporation: Previous Undocumented Experience and Naturalization Propensities Among Immigrants in the United States.” International Migration Review 55(2): 482-513. https://doi.org/10.1177/0197918320934714
Cheong, Amanda R. & Massey, Douglas S. (2019). “Undocumented and Unwell: Legal Status and Health Among Mexican Migrants.” International Migration Review 53(2): 571-601. https://doi.org/10.1177/0197918318775924. [Open Access]
Cheong, Amanda R. (2018). “Immigration and Shifting Conceptions of Citizenship: The Case of Stateless Chinese-Bruneians in Canada.” In New Chinese Migrations: Mobility, Home, Inspirations. Eds. Yuk Wah Chan & Sin Yee Koh. New York: Routledge.
Executive committee member, UBC Centre for Migration Studies.
Faculty affiliate, UBC Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies.
General faculty member, UBC Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster.
I was named to the inaugural cohort of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population’s CRVS Fellows Program for 2019-2021.
I was also appointed as a member of the Emerging Scholars Forum of the interdisciplinary journal, Global Perspectives for 2019-2021.