Karthick Ramakrishnan received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Public Policy Institute of California. He has provided consultation to public officials at the federal and local levels.
His research focuses on civic participation, immigration policy, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. Ramakrishnan directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder of AAPIdata.com, which seeks to make policy-relevant data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders more accessible to a variety of audiences. He also directs the Immigration Research Group at UCR. He is currently writing two books on immigration policy, and is founding editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, an official section journal of the American Political Science Association.
On Immigration policy
Political conditions for immigration policy reform are uncertain. National leaders in the Republican Party are well aware that they risk losing out on many future presidential elections if they cannot make inroads into the Latino electorate. Asian Americans are also a rapidly growing part of the electorate, and immigration is a significant part of their shifting voting patterns in presidential elections. Still, most Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate face a far more pressing and immediate political problem than winning future presidential elections, which is to figure out ways to overcome potential primary challengers in 2014. Even if House and Senate leaders are able to forge an agreement on key principles, the fear of primary defeats in 2014 will induce reluctance among many Republican legislators. This is particularly true in the current set of Republican House districts, where conservative primary challengers can defeat incumbents and still have a good chance of winning the general election.
On Asian Americans
The United States is set to become a majority-minority, or majority-people of color, nation by 2043. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are central to this process, with the fastest rates of population growth nationwide and in many states. Despite the growing importance of AAPI communities, their policy visibility has been limited until recently due to the lack of public awareness and limited data. AAPI Voices (http://www.aapivoices.com/) draws content from Ramakrishnan’s own AAPI Data site, as well as 18MR.org. Themes will include health, culture, race, immigration, generational issues, and questions about when Asian America should be a coalition of different ethnicities, or a single pan-ethnic “race.”