Friday, April 16, 2021

UCLA Immigration Law and Policy Conference

UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy’s first big event: Immigration Policy in the Biden Administration: The First 100 Days and Beyond, a virtual conference over three (non-consecutive) days: April 23, April 30, and May 7, 2021

You can register for each day and find out more about Day Two and Day Three on this conference webpage.


Immigration Policy in the Biden Administration: The First 100 Days and Beyond (April 23, 2021)

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly signaled his interest in adopting an immigration policy very different from that of the prior administration. After winning the election, several leaders from the immigrants’ rights movement joined the new administration, suggesting that fundamental change was imminent. As we approach one hundred days into this new era, it has become clear that the Biden Administration will reset U.S. immigration policies. But reset to what?

This conference will bring together important stakeholders to address three central questions: First, what should federal immigration policy look like, both in the Biden Administration and beyond? Second, have the first 100 days put the country on a path toward achieving those goals, or is the reality mixed? Third, what should immigrants’ rights advocates do to achieve the world they want, in terms of both substantive demands and tactics to achieve them?

Introductory Remarks from Faculty Co-Directors Ahilan Arulanantham & Hiroshi Motomura
9:30 - 10:00am

Day 1, Session 1: Lessons from The Infiltrators
10:00 - 11:30am

Nearly ten years ago, the Obama administration adopted an immigration policy purporting to focus on people with serious criminal histories. In this extraordinary panel, we will hear from some of the people behind the award-winning documentary The Infiltrators, which tells the story of a small group of undocumented youth who set out to show this was false by getting themselves detained and -- from the inside -- identifying people without criminal histories. What happened next offers important lessons for how advocates should think about immigrants’ rights work in the years to come.

In this extraordinary panel, we will hear from:

  • Luis Nolasco is a Senior Organizer at the ACLU of Southern California. He was one of the original “infiltrators,” and has spent the last decade working as an immigrants’ rights organizer in the Inland Empire region of Southern California.
  • Alina Das is a clinical professor at New York University School of Law and perhaps the leading attorney defending movement activists against retaliation by ICE.
  • Claudio Rojas is one of the stars of “The Infiltrators,” who was deported to Argentina in 2019 as the movie profiling his bravery was about to premiere.
  • Moderator: Sejal Zota is the Legal Director and Co-Founder of Just Futures Law and an experienced immigrants’ rights movement litigator.

Conference registrants will receive a link to watch the film in advance.

Day 1, Session 2: Immigrants’ Rights Litigation in the Biden Administration:
A Conversation with Cecillia Wang

12:00 - 1:15pm

Cecillia Wang, Deputy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, will discuss her experience leading national immigrants’ rights litigation over the past few administrations and her perspective on pro-immigrant litigation strategy in the Biden administration. Her notable cases include Nielsen v Preap, a challenge to a statute mandating detention without even the possibility of bond for many immigrants, which she argued in the Supreme Court; IRAP v Trump, a challenge to former President Trump’s Muslim Ban, which she successfully argued before the en banc Fourth Circuit; and Melendres v. Arpaio, a challenge to the racially discriminatory practices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which she won at trial and then successfully defended on appeal before the en banc Ninth Circuit. Cecillia will speak with Ingrid Eagly, Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and a nationally recognized expert on immigration enforcement.

Day 1, Session 3: Should Immigration Detention Be Abolished?
2:00 - 3:30pm

The Biden administration has signaled that it believes there should be fewer people in immigration detention, but it has also made clear that it does see a role for some incarceration as part of the immigration enforcement system. Many advocates are pushing for the total abolition of immigration detention. What is the way forward?

We bring together three distinguished panelists, each with unique perspectives on the issue:

  • Ny Nourn is a Community Advocate for Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and a former child refugee. She was sentenced to life in prison for her role in a murder, won parole after 16 years, was then sent to ICE detention, and pardoned in 2017.
  • Munmeeth Soni is Director of Litigation and Advocacy at Immigrant Defenders Law Center. Munmeeth has represented numerous detained immigrants against deportation and also participated in systemic litigation on various detention issues.
  • Margo Schlanger is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. Margo has many years of experience representing prisoners in civil rights suits, represented a class of several hundred Iraqis who challenged the Trump administration’s attempt to execute their removal orders in Hamama v. Adducci, and worked in the Obama administration as part of an attempt to reform the immigration detention system.
  • Moderator: Nina Rabin is Director of the Immigrant Family Legal Clinic at the UCLA School of Law. Her research has focused on documenting the impact of immigration enforcement on women and families.


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