Douglas C. Ligor

Photo of Douglas Ligor
Senior Behavioral/Social Scientist
Boston Office


J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law; B.S. in economics, United States Military Academy, West Point

Media Resources

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Doug Ligor is a senior behavioral/social scientist at the RAND Corporation.His research areas include homeland and national security policy, particularly as they relate to issues of immigration, border security, migration, asylum and refugee processing, law enforcement, and litigation. Ligor’s research interests extend to civil and criminal law, as well as statutory, regulatory, and compliance issues.

Prior to joining RAND, Ligor served as the deputy chief counsel for the Northeast Law Division of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security. He also served as an assistant district counsel with the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (later DHS/Immigration and Customs Enforcement). He represented DOJ and DHS with respect to all major aspects of U.S. immigration law, including: national security issues and cases; naturalization and citizenship; lawful permanent residence; family and employment based immigration; asylum and refugee status; criminal and civil grounds of detention and removal; deferred action and prosecutorial discretion; application processing; and immigration records and databases. Ligor began his legal career through the Department of Commerce’s Honors Attorney Program, serving as legal liaison to the Secretary of Commerce. Before joining federal service, Ligor served as an Armor officer in the U.S. Army in company and battalion staff positions. 

Ligor received his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and his B.S. in economics from the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Senior Adjunct Lecturer of Social Sciences, Manchester Community College, New Hampshire

Recent Projects

  • Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC)

Selected Publications

Douglas C. Ligor, Neither Deportation nor Amnesty: An Alternative for the Immigration Debate Building a Bridge Across the Deportation-Amnesty Divide, RAND Corporation (PE-279-RC), 2018

Geoffrey McGovern, Maria McCollester, Douglas Ligor, et. al., The Role of Intellectual Property in U.S. Homeland Security, RAND Corporation (RR-3039), 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center Director's Innovation Award, 2018, RAND Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center
  • Superior Performance Award (2003 to 2016), Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Training Excellence Award, 2015, Office of the Chief Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


  • Police officers patrol the beach after the closing of all the beaches in Miami-Dade County due to COVID-19, in Miami Beach, Florida, March 19, 2020, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    State Police Powers: A Less Than Optimal Remedy for the COVID-19 Disease

    How can the United States face what may be a growing threat of pandemics without having to exercise powers so extraordinary that they not only restrict fundamental rights and liberties, but also damage or jeopardize the economic livelihood of so many?

    May 1, 2020 United Press International

  • Immigrant children are led by staff in single file between tents at a detention facility near the Mexican border, Tornillo, Texas, June 18, 2018, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Sleep Deprivation Could Do Long-Term Damage to Migrant Children

    The challenges faced by detained children at the U.S. southern border are immense. Sleep disruption may significantly hinder their ability to function physically and mentally. Policymakers shouldn't overlook the importance of providing appropriate sleeping conditions.

    Jul 22, 2019 Dallas Morning News

  • Immigration law book and gavel in a library

    Restoring Asylum Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded asylum protections earlier this month for victims of domestic violence. The decision and the supporting analysis goes against decades of research on violence against women. Congress could reverse the decision by amending the asylum law.

    Jun 25, 2018 The Hill

  • U.S. Permanent Resident ID (green card) with a gavel and an American flag

    The Immigration Debate: Building a Bridge Across the Deportation-Amnesty Divide

    Discussions of U.S. immigration are dominated by arguments that pit “rule of law” proponents — focused on apprehension, detention, and deportation — against “humanitarian” supporters seeking a pardon or amnesty that will allow immigrants to stay in the country. Minor changes to the statute known as “Cancellation of Removal” could offer a compromise.

    Feb 28, 2018 The Hill