Alejandro Portes is Professor of Law, Research Professor & Distinguished Scholar, College of Arts and Sciences, at the University of Miami. He was formerly the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for Migration and Development at Princeton University. He previously taught at Johns Hopkins University, where he held the John Dewey Chair in Arts and Sciences; Duke University; and the University of Texas-Austin. In 1997, he was elected president of the American Sociological Association, and he served in that capacity in 1998-99. Born in Havana, Cuba, he came to the United States in 1960. He was educated at the University of Havana, Catholic University of Argentina, and Creighton University. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Portes is the author of 250 articles and chapters on national development, international migration, Latin American and Caribbean urbanization, and economic sociology. He has published 30 books and special issues. His books include City on the Edge–The Transformation of Miami (California 1993), co-authored with Alex Stepick and winner of the Robert Park Award for best book in urban sociology and the Anthony Leeds Award for best book in urban anthropology in 1995; and Immigrant America: A Portrait, 3rd edition, (California 2006), designated as a Centennial Publication by the University of California Press in 1996.
His current research is on the adaptation process of the immigrant second generation in comparative perspective, the role of institutions on national development, and immigration and the American health system. In 2001, he published, with Rubén G. Rumbaut, Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation and Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America (California 2001).
Legacies is the winner of the 2002 Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association and of the 2002 W. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki Award for best book from the International Migration Section of ASA. Five volumes of his collected essays have been published in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. His most recent articles have appeared in the American Sociological Review, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, International Migration Review, and Population and Development Review.
Portes is a former fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and of the Russell Sage Foundation. He has received honorary doctorates from the New School for Social Research, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Genoa (Italy). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2008, he received the annual Award for Scientific Reviewing (Social and Political Sciences) from the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society and, in 2010; he received the W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association. He was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award in the Social Sciences in 2019. At Miami Law he is teaching Immigration, Ethnicity & Public Policy.