Irene Bloemraad, an expert in the field of immigration, is an associate professor of sociology at UC Berkeley and the Thomas Garden Barnes Chair of Canadian Studies. Born in Spain to Dutch parents, she has also lived in Canada, France, and the U.S. These experiences sparked her interest in the political incorporation of immigrants, and in the tensions that can arise between inclusive democratic ideals and the tendency to distance "us" from "those" immigrants.
Bloemraad is the author of Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada, a comparative study of citizenship, community organizations and foreign-born office holders in the U.S. and Canada. She is currently doing research among Mexican, Chinese, and Vietnamese immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area — looking at whether and how parents and children share knowledge of the American political system.