The center of human rights at UC Davis will bring research, education, and opportunity for collaboration in fundamental human rights for immigrants.

Human Rights, Migration and At-Risk Migrants

Leading the Way for Migration and Refugee Policy

Telling the human story of migration

Amandeep, an economics major, came to California from India as a child with his father, a guest worker in the construction industry. Severe financial constraints forced his father to overstay his visa, and now his family no longer holds legal status—making Amandeep reluctant to pursue professional opportunities for fear of endangering his family. At a Center for Human Rights, Migration and At-Risk Migrants symposium, he participates on a student panel with Sofia, a law student who obtained asylum after fleeing domestic violence in Mexico. She introduces him to the center’s unique partnership with human rights nonprofits, which provides leadership training opportunities for undocumented students. A decade later, each is actively rewriting the migration narrative — Amandeep as the founder of a corporate mentorship program for undocumented youth, and Sofia as a prominent refugee policy expert.

The nation's first center for migrant advocacy

No place better illustrates the humanitarian costs of the U.S. migration crisis than California, home to a quarter of the nation’s undocumented population. No institution is better prepared to respond than UC Davis. Building on a distinguished record of leadership in shaping migration and refugee policy, we are creating the nation’s first comprehensive Center for Human Rights, Migration and At-Risk Migrants to advocate for migrants who cross borders for economic, social or political reasons. We will combat polarizing narratives by humanizing undocumented immigrants in California and worldwide, while preparing a new generation to lead the way.

Help shape the future of human rights policy

  • Endow a chair and a faculty directorship to lead the center’s research, education and outreach activities
  • Establish a new master’s program in migration studies
  • Create undergraduate and graduate fellowships that expand academic and professional opportunities
  • Fund an annual symposium and public lecture series Support key policy and education initiatives including a community-based digital storytelling project, a deportation policy impact study and a long-range analysis of migrant labor policies


UC Davis is committed to shining a light on the social, cultural and economic contributions of migrants while giving a voice to those who are exploited and dehumanized. We invite the partnership of our alumni and friends in paving the way for more just and humane immigration rights and policy.