Sociologist William A. Schwab has been studying Northwest Arkansas’ Hispanic community since 2007 and since 2011 has focused his research on undocumented children and youth. Right to Dream features the findings of this research.
During his three decades at the University of Arkansas, he has published four books and numerous articles, papers and technical reports. He has received research grants totaling more than $2.5 million.
His other areas of specialization include urban ecology, community and demography – with interests in urban change on the neighborhood level – as well as economic development in the less-developed world and cultural resource management.
His contributions at the national level include work with organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of University Partnerships in the U.S. State Department. He also has served as an international development consultant in Bolivia and, for the past 15 years, in Jordan for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Schwab has a baccalaureate degree in chemistry and master’s degrees in both urban planning and sociology. He earned his doctorate in sociology from Ohio State University in 1976 and joined the University of Arkansas faculty the same year.
In July 2008, Schwab was named dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. He completed his appointment in 2011 and returned to the sociology faculty. He has also served as associate dean of Fulbright College and chair of the department of sociology and criminal justice twice.
In Right to Dream: Immigration Reform and America’s Future, Schwab examines the evidence and calls for passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, better known as the DREAM Act. Schwab analyzed the arguments for and against the DREAM Act and immigration reform and concluded that “the critics have gotten it wrong.”
Schwab brings a sociologist’s perspective to understanding immigration and notes that undocumented immigrants “are coming to this country for the same reasons as past generations—for freedom, liberty and a better life. Simply, we are repeating the process that built this nation. And as in previous waves, we benefit because we need their education, skills, entrepreneurship and manpower to grow our economy and tax base.”
Right to Dream advocates for the passage of the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented youth the opportunity to attend college with in-state tuition and to work and travel freely and would open a path to citizenship.