Policy often responds to important social topics, and some policies can alter individual behaviors, guide group actions, and result in unexpected consequences. This study examines how policies related to immigration and sexual identity can intersect, resulting in social mobilization and countermobilization, and potentially weakening or reshaping social boundaries. It is well known that policy can influence individuals' lived experiences, but the consequences of policies focused on immigration and sexual identity are not well known. Similarly, it is unclear how such a policy context might alter individuals' assertions of rights and claims of belonging in certain social contexts. Understanding the relationship between policy and social phenomena is important in order to better understand how policy and legal processes shape everyday life for people in the United States.

This study will use semi-structured interviews with elected officials, law enforcement officers, and community-based organization leaders and members, as well as participant observation with community-based organizations, to examine the relationship between social factors and public policy related to immigration and sexual identity. The study site is Orlando, Florida, where a number of organizations grappling with these issues have recently emerged, and which has a history of policy tension around these concerns. Findings from this study will be disseminated through academic and non-academic products to community-based organizations, policymakers, and the broader public through podcasts, reports, and policy briefs, thereby making the results of the research widely available. Additionally, the findings from this study can potentially advance knowledge in several disciplines (e.g., anthropology, sociology, gender studies, ethnic studies) and may be useful to elected officials, community-based organizations, governmental agencies, and the general public. This study will also contribute to educating and training undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines and enhance the research and teaching environment at an undergraduate institution.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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Reggie Sheehan
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Rollins College
Winter Park
United States
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