Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blogging from El Paso, TX, Day 1: Course on Enforcement of Immigration Law at the Border

Pic of the border

For the third year in a row, I will be teaching a one-week course in El Paso, Texas, which examines the ways in which the federal government enforces immigration law at the border and the legal, civil rights, social, cultural and political issues that are implicated in border enforcement. The program is co-sponsored by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and the National Center for Border Security & Immigration at the University of Texas at El Paso. Lauris Wren of Hofstra Law School will be teaching part of the program and Kit Johnson of the University of Oklahoma School of Law will be participating in the program as well. 

The program is designed to be experiential in that students spend half the time in the classroom studying cases, laws and policies and the other half of the time engaging in the field with various actors involved in immigration law.  The course begins today, May 19, and ends on Saturday, May 25. Open to all law students, this year's program includes students from Case Western, Drexel University, Hofstra University, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of Missouri-Kansas City School, Seattle University, Southern University, and Touro University.  

The program kicks off tonight with a Welcoming Reception. We will hear remarks from Judge Veronica Escobar, county judge for El Paso, who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times a few months ago critiquing current border policies. Events and activities from the program this week include: a tour of the border; meal and conversations with residents of Annunciation House, a not-for-profit organization that offers sanctuary to poor and undocumented immigrants; tour of a local detention center; observations of removal hearings and federal sentencing hearings of illegal re-entry cases; and conversations with Border Patrol agents, federal prosecutors and public defense attorneys, federal district and immigration judges, Department of State officers, and advocates for immigrants.

Overall, through both class discussions and conversations with people with various perspectives on immigration law enforcement, the program seeks to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexities of border enforcement.


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