David Hernández

  • Faculty Director of Community Engagement, Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies
Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies David Hernández says that Donald Trump is consolidating governmental power in the Oval Office.

David Hernández's research focuses on immigration enforcement, in particular, the U.S. detention regime. He is completing a book manuscript on this institution tentatively entitled "Alien Incarcerations: Immigrant Detention and Lesser Citizenship." The book examines the racial genealogy of immigrant detention in the United States, traces the long-term consolidation of detention and deportation powers, and situates this mostly obscured institution at the crossroads of migration and prison scholarship. He is also the co-editor of the anthology Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2016).

Hernández’s work has been published in Latina/o Studies, the Journal of Race and PolicyNACLA: Report on the Americas, and Perspectives in Mexican American Studies. His article "Pursuant to Deportation: Latinos and Immigrant Detention" was recently reprinted for the second time in Governing Immigration Through Crime: A Reader (Stanford University Press). Hernández has written numerous reviews and review essays in American QuarterlyAztlán,Contemporary Sociology, and the Law and Society Review. He has received research fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for Latina/o Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution.

At Mount Holyoke Hernández teaches a first year seminar entitled the Politics of Inequality and the Introduction to Latina/o Studies. He also teaches Latina/o Immigration, Visualizing Immigrant Narratives: Migration in Film, and Disposable People: A History of Deportation.

Areas of Expertise

Immigration policy; detention and deportation, Latina/o history


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • M.A., University of New Mexico
  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara


Recent Campus News

Mount Holyoke professor David Hernández says Biden’s carrot-and-stick approach to immigration is rooted in Trump-era policies that exacerbate inequities among immigrants and erode international relationships.

Maria Cartagena has joined the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College as the new director of Community-Based Learning (CBL).

Two Mount Holyoke students turn a class writing assignment into an opportunity to change the public conversation.

Recent Publications

Hernández, D., “In My Own Way,” In Know That You Are Worthy: Experiences from First-Generation College Graduates, Adam J. Rodríguez, editor. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. 2023. 93-97.

Hernández, D. (2021) "Inheriting Inequality: Hidden Challenges of First-Generation Students." In At the Intersection: Understanding and Supporting First-Generation Students, Robert Longwell-Grice and Hope Longwell-Grice, editors. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. 84-86.

Recent Awards

Delivered the closing keynote address, “The Whiplash of Immigration Enforcement: Reflections on ’the Trump Era,’” at the Western New England Law Review Symposium, “New Abolitionism: Ending Civil Immigration Detention and Criminalization—Policy, History, and Legal Strategies.” February 27, 2021.

Recent Honors

Delivered the research presentation, "Outsourcing Migrant Control: 100 Years of Private Prisons,” at the Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University on September 24, 2020.

Interviewed for the radio show, “2020 Talks” by Pacifica Network and the Public News Service.  "Earth Day” and aired April 22, 2020.

Delivered the research presentation, "Smothering Asylum: Kids, Cages, and Political Currency in Migrant Processing," at the Issues in Mental Health Policy Seminar at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City on January 29, 2020.

Presented twice at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in November: (1) first delivering a research presentation, "From OTMs (other than Mexicans) to YAMS (you're all Mexicans): Conflating Latina/o/x Migrants,” at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, on November 14, 2019; (2) as a panelist for the Social Science Matters series, "Critical Issues for the 2020 Election Cycle: U.S. Immigration Policy,” on November 19, 2019.

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