Sandoval wins award for best paper in 2013

A peer-reviewed journal article by Assistant Professor Gerardo Sandoval has won the Chester Rapkin Award For Best Paper in the 2013 Journal of Planning Education and Research. The prize was awarded for Sandoval’s article "Shadow Transnationalism: Cross-Border Networks and Planning Challenges of Transnational Unauthorized Immigrant Communities" (Vol. 33 (1), pp. 176-193).

Sandoval teaches in the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management and is associate director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS).

​Assistant Professor Gerardo Sandoval
Above: ​Assistant Professor Gerardo Sandoval

Sandoval's paper identifies the deeply intertwined networks of immigrants, employers, and state actors that support unauthorized immigration while forcing migrants into the shadows of society where they are especially vulnerable. It is based on a case study of the transnational networks that link together migrants from El Rosario, a poor rural village in Guatemala, with Postville, Iowa, and the promise of jobs in a meatpacking plant there.

“In stunning detail, Sandoval documents the transnational immigrant recruitment approaches, flows of loans and remittances, and smuggling networks that inextricably connect these two small towns,” noted Subhro Guhathakurta, coeditor of JPER, in announcing the award.

Sandoval’s article shows how the employer encouraged recruitment and settlement of unauthorized immigrants as a source of vulnerable low-wage workers, and how the state benefited from their presence by collecting payroll taxes and Social Security premiums despite the workers’ unauthorized status.

“Sandoval illustrates concretely how these most vulnerable immigrants engage in networks and practices that allow them to remain out of official sight even as their presence is unofficially recognized and impacts many aspects of town life,” Guhathakurta stated.

The paper shines a spotlight on an important public policy issue of particular relevance for planners. Despite being in the shadows, unauthorized migrants are present in towns and cities across America, shaping housing and labor markets, public service demand, and local community culture. By understanding the powerful confluence of interests that support unauthorized immigrants in the United States, planners can implement policies that reduce their vulnerability.  

“The Chester Rapkin Award selection committee learned a great deal from this paper and recommends it highly to planning faculty, students, and practitioners,” Guhathakurta said.

The annual award carries a cash grant supported by an endowment at the University of Illinois Foundation in Urbana. 

JPER is a double-blind, peer-reviewed quarterly that serves as a forum for planning educators and scholars from both academia and practice. The journal covers planning theory, planning practice, and planning pedagogy, as well as disciplines drawn upon by planners such as urban geography, welfare economics, interest-group politics, and policy analysis.

A distinguished educator, Rapkin mentored seventy doctoral and numerous master students at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Princeton. As a pioneering researcher, he authored fifteen books and monographs and more than 100 professional articles, plans and reports. He was the Executive Director of the White House task force that proposed the Model Cities Program under President Lyndon B. Johnson. From 1969 to 1977 he served on the New York City Planning Commission under Mayors John Lindsay and Abraham Beame.


October 22, 2014