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Immigration debate to headline national conference at Law

October 06, 2010

A national debate over immigration reform was sparked last spring in Arizona with the passage of a controversial law that makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. The discourse was further inflamed over the summer when a federal judge blocked parts of the law from taking effect, as numerous lawsuits were filed.

The conversation will continue, Oct. 8, at ASU's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, which will conduct a national conference about the function of states in the complex, far-reaching issues of immigration. “The Role of States in Immigration Policy and Enforcement” will feature panels of legal scholars, policymakers and community leaders involved in the immigration debate. 
The conference will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall, on the law campus. It is open to the public, and Continuing Legal Education credit also will be offered to attorneys.

More information on the event is here:

Following an introduction by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the conference will feature an overview of SB 1070, which Gov. Jan Brewer signed in April. Douglas S. Massey, the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, will deliver the keynote address, “How Arizona Became Ground Zero in the Nation's War on Immigrants.”

Massey, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and director of Graduate Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton. Massey’s research focuses on international immigration, race and housing, discrimination, education, urban poverty, stratification, and Latin America, especially Mexico.

“Arizona has become the center of a firestorm of rhetoric surrounding immigration and federalism,” said Paul Schiff Berman, dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “Part of our role as a public law school is to bring major national scholars such as Doug Massey to the state to go beyond the easy talking points and help us all understand the complexities of immigration policy.”

Professor Carissa Byrne Hessick, the conference’s organizer, said the College of Law is an ideal place to present an objective, through discussion of immigration, a counterbalance to the hysteria that recently has clouded the issues.

“The law school has a duty, not only because we are training the future leaders of this state and nation, but also because we have the ability to put together an agenda where immigration will be discussed in the detail and with the sort of thoughtfulness that it really deserves,” Hessick said. “It’s too easy for difficult issues such as immigration to be reduced to small sound bites or bitter battles between political parties.”

Hessick, a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School, will provide an overview of SB 1070 at the conference. Her recent report on the legal issues raised by the bill has been referenced in a number of recent news reports, including the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.
The conference will feature viewpoints of those supporting a robust role for the states in immigration enforcement, as well as skeptics of that involvement. It could not come at a better time, nor in a better place, Hessick said. 

“It’s one thing to debate a political issue in Washington, D.C., and quite another to debate it in a geographic area that is most impacted by it,” Hessick said.

Members of the academic panel are:

Lucas Guttentag, the founding  national director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil  Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation, and the Robina Foundation Distinguished Senior Fellow in Residence at Yale Law School. Guttentag has litigated major class action, constitutional and civil rights cases on behalf of immigrants  and refugees for more than 25 years. Since 2006, the project has led the national litigation strategy challenging state and local anti-immigrant laws,  including SB1070 and the Arizona employer sanctions statute now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. The project is litigating three other major cases challenging Arizona laws or the  policies of Maricopa County.

Marc Miller, the Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Miller previously taught at the Emory University School of Law, and served as special counsel to the Vera Institute of Justice, and as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.

Hiroshi Motomura, the Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Motomura is an  influential scholar and teacher of immigration and citizenship law, and the co-author of two immigration-related casebooks, "Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy" and "Forced Migration: Law and Policy."

Huyen Pham, a professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Pham’s scholarship focuses on immigration law and its intersections with criminal law. Her most recent projects have  explored the implications of changing enforcement roles for the federal government, local governments and private parties.

Doris Marie Provine, a professor in the School of Social Transformation at ASU, where her areas of interest reflect her background in law and political science. Most of Provine’s research has focused on courts and policies related  to them, most recently, the role racism has played in the war on drugs. Currently, she is studying policies around unauthorized immigration.

Judith Resnik, the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law  School, where she teaches  about federalism, procedure, citizenship, equality and sovereignty. Resnik’s recent books include "Migrations and Mobilities: Citizenship, Borders, and Gender" and "Federal Courts Stories." Forthcoming is "Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms."

Cristina Rodríguez, a professor at the New York University School of Law. Rodríguez is a non-resident fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, a term member of the Council on Foreign  Relations and a co-convener of the NYU-Columbia Working Group on Latin American Migration. In her work with the Institute, Rodríguez is developing a database of immigration-related legislation introduced in state legislatures from 2001-2008.

Juliet Stumpf, an associate professor at Lewis & Clark Law School. Stumpf’s research focuses on the intersection between immigration law and other substantive areas of law including constitutional law, criminal law, national security law, civil rights and employment law. Her current research is interdisciplinary, examining the convergence of criminal and immigration law, the insights that psychological research brings to the centrality of procedure in immigration law, the role of punishment in immigration law, and the impact of immigration law on employment discrimination law.

Rick Su, an associate professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School. Su writes and teaches in the areas of immigration and local government law.

Michael Wishnie, a clinical professor at Yale Law School and former New York University School of Law professor. Wishnie’s teaching, scholarship and law practice have focused on immigration, labor and employment, habeas corpus, civil rights and administrative law. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute.

The roundtable of community leaders includes:

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, a co-sponsor of SB 1070, is a professor of criminal justice at Scottsdale Community College and director of the college’s Administration of Justice Studies and Forensic Science Program. Kavanaugh previously taught at ASU, and also was a police officer for 20 years with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.

Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix, a staff attorney for Defenders of Children, a non-profit organization that provides legal services to abused children, and a member of the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board. Lujan has been staff counsel for the Arizona State Senate Judiciary Committee, served as a state assistant attorney general from 1999 to 2003, and was an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.

Cameron “Kip” Holmes,  Senior Litigator in the Criminal Division, Financial Remedies Section, of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Holmes is a former chief of the section, a money laundering, forfeiture and civil RICO unit that concentrates on protecting legitimate commerce from the effects of financial fraud and  money laundering. He is staff director of the Southwest Border Anti-Money  Laundering Alliance.

Media contact:
Janie Magruder,