Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AALS Annual Meeting Immigration Programs

The Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in Washington D.C. is right around the corner.  Here are some of the immigration programs on the schedule:

Saturday, January 3, 2014, 3:30 pm to 5:15 pm

The 1965 Immigration Act: 50 Years of Race-Neutral (?) Immigration

 On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this joint program that will explore the 1965 Immigration Act’s origins; its legal, political, economic, and cultural effects; and its future, including proposals for alternative systems.

 The 1965 Immigration Act, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, is arguably the most successful federal civil rights law since Reconstruction.  Before 1965, the immigrant stream was overwhelmingly white, and predominantly from the countries of Northern and Western Europe.  Since 1965, a supermajority of immigrants have been people of color from Asia and Central and South America and the United States is expected to become a majority minority nation as a whole by 2043.  However, the 1965 Immigration Act may have ended formal racial discrimination but it did not eliminate race as a critical and problematic concern in the administration of immigration law.  Moreover, it also perpetuated discrimination based on sexual orientation and political opinion.  It failed to account for the interests of Mexican migrant workers who had traveled to the United States for generations but were restricted under the new law.  It also had the effect of giving Africans few opportunities to come to the United States.

Business meeting of Section on Immigration Law at program conclusion

Business meeting of Section on Minority Groups at program conclusion


Speaker from a Call for Papers: Ming Hsu Chen, University of Colorado School of Law

Speaker: Gabriel "Jack" Chin, University of California at Davis School of Law

Speaker from a Call for Papers: Kevin R. Johnson, University of California at Davis School of Law

Speaker: Kunal Parker, University of Miami School of Law

Moderator: Maritza I. Reyes, Florida A&M University College of Law


Sunday, January 4, 8:30  am to 10:15 am

AALS Hot Topic/Bridge Program - The Tipping Point, How the Recent Migrant Children's Crisis

During the last year 70,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the United States illegally. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees fifty-eight percent of these children were forcibly displaced and are potentially in need of international protection. Currently, the only protections available to these children are narrow forms of immigration relief.  Such relief is onerous to obtain and therefore the success of a worthy child acquiring protection usually depends upon the assistance of an attorney. These children are not entitled to government-funded counsel and must proceed before an immigration judge alone.  For some children there is no relevant immigration relief available.

The current crisis on the border has underscored the profound structural deficiencies in our federal agencies to meet the needs of unaccompanied immigrant children – as children. In addition to highlighting the current “surge” of children on the border and the failed policy responses, this panel seeks to provide solutions that both keep the children in need of international protection out of harm’s way, and are grounded in international human rights law and practice. This panel will recommend discrete steps for Congress and the executive branch to take in addressing significant structural gaps in the federal government’s capacity to provide for the best interest of each child in need of international sanctuary.


Speaker: Lauren Aronson, Michigan State University College of Law

Speaker: Lenni Beth Benson, New York Law School

Speaker: Erin Corcoran, University of New Hampshire School of Law

Speaker: Maria Woltjen, The University of Chicago, The Law School

Speaker: Ms. Wendy Young, Kids in Need of Defense


Monday, January 5, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

DACA:  Exective Discretion or Lawmaking

Session Details

This panel will present a rich case study to deepen the conversation on the issues raised in the first three panels. On June 15, 2012, Janet Napolitano, then head of the Department of Homeland Security, issued a Memorandum directing the immigration agencies to exercise prosecutorial discretion in favor of certain undocumented youths who came to the United States as children. USCIS responded by creating Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), under which nearly two million undocumented youths became eligible for a temporary reprieve from removal and for work authorization. As a result of DACA, youths became eligible for driver’s licenses under existing federal law. DACA could also bear on other issues currently debated by states such as the granting of professional licenses, including the license to practice law. DACA has not been without its critics: its legality has been challenged in litigation and some states have attempted to push back by refusing to issue DACA youths driver’s licenses. This panel will entertain the question of whether DACA is within the permissible scope of prosecutorial discretion in immigration and will also examine the dynamics and implications of cooperative or uncooperative federalism provoked by DACA.


Moderator: Alina Das, New York University School of Law

Speaker: Geoffrey Heeren, Valparaiso University School of Law

Speaker: Peter Margulies, Roger Williams University School of Law

Speaker: Juliet P. Stumpf, Lewis and Clark Law School

Speaker: Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Pennsylvania State University The Dickinson School of Law

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