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Policy Explainers

Are Foreign Fighters Likely to Become Domestic Terrorists?

AU School of Public Affairs Assistant Professor David Malet recently co-authored a paper examining how long it typically takes a returned foreign fighter to launch a domestic attack, and he found there is not a long-term risk as feared. Understanding what happens with returnees is important to know because it can affect policies on everything from countries admitting refugees to whether to permit ISIS fighters to leave the theater of conflict alive.

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Racial Inequities in the U.S. Prison System and Its Affects?

SPA Postdoctoral Fellow TaLisa Carter is a native of Long Island, N.Y., and worked as a deputy corrections officer in Savannah, Ga. She received her Ph.D. in criminology at the University of Delaware in May 2018. TaLisa’s research has been presented to the American Society of Criminology, the American Sociological Association, and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

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What Will It Take To Reform Immigration Policy?

Family separations. Deportations. ICE crackdowns. In 2018, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally into the United States.

SPA Associate Professor Matthew Wright talks about where immigration policy stands today and how a compromise might be needed to move forward.

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How Does Pollution Affect a Child’s Test Scores?

SPA Assistant Professor Claudia Persico is currently studying the social and biological mechanisms underlying the relationships between poverty, the environment, and children’s cognitive development and health. The time between conception and birth is perhaps one of the most vulnerable life stages, during which the environment may have tremendous immediate and lasting effects on health.

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Does the Foreign Lobbying Law Need to Be Fixed?

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s conviction on charges related to his foreign lobbying has drawn attention to the fact that the Department of Justice has not been aggressive enough in enforcing the law covering foreign lobbyists.

SPA Distinguished Professor James Thurber talks about the consequences of not enforcing the law and why it needs an upgrade.

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What Can Machine Learning Tell Us About U.S. Legislation?

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, machine learning is increasingly becoming an important way to analyze a lot of information quickly. SPA Assistant Professor Andrew Ballard is studying the way that machine learning can analyze legislation to find patterns, correlations, and anomalies within the text. For big bills with thousands of pages, this means processing massive amounts of text quickly. Could this help distill it into something more readable for policymakers?

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