Jessica M. Vaughan

Director of Policy Studies

Jessica M. Vaughan currently holds the position of Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, where she has worked since 1992. Her area of expertise is immigration policy and operations, covering topics such as visa programs, immigration benefits, and immigration enforcement and public safety.

Vaughan teamed up in 2022 with the University of Houston’s Borders, Trade, and Immigration Institute and Sam Houston State University’s Institute for Homeland Security to launch the annual Conference to Combat Human Trafficking. She has directed a Department of Justice-funded project on the use of immigration law enforcement in transnational gang suppression. In addition, she is an instructor for senior law enforcement officer training seminars at Northwestern University's Center for Public Safety in Illinois and she routinely speaks at law enforcement and academic conferences around the country.

She has testified before Congress dozens of times - most recently she testified on “The Consequences of Catch and Release at the Border” as a guest of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and on “Biden and Mayorkas’ Open Border: Advancing Cartel Crime in America” as a guest of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. Vaughan advises federal and state lawmakers and agencies on immigration issues as well as citizen groups interested in understanding immigration policies and impacts.

Prior to joining the Center, Mrs. Vaughan was a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department, where she served in Belgium and Trinidad & Tobago. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, National Review, Boston Globe, The Economist, San Francisco Chronicle, the National Interest, Arizona Republic, and other publications, and can be found at She is frequently cited in news media reports on immigration, and has appeared on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and PBS's NewsHour. She is on X (Twitter) at @JessicaV_CIS.

Mrs. Vaughan has a master's degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree from Washington College in Maryland.