February 2, 2010

Immigration Reform in the 21st Century

The life of a dean at times can be hectic.  Last week, for example, I was meeting for wonderful  alumni lunch followed by an evening reception with alums down in Silicon Valley.  A few days later, I watched alums, students, Professor Peter Lee,  and a “ringer” or two play some inspired basketball in a charity tournament for public interest fellowships at the UC Davis School of Laws.

Mixing scholarship into the daily routine of activities at times can be challenging for me.  Still, a law school dean is a scholarly, as well as an administrative, leader.  Consequently, I have tried to maintain something of a research program.   Since my research focuses on immigration, there have been plenty of opportunities in recent months to participate in the ongoing national debate over “comprehensive” immigration reform.

Last week, I presented a paper at a conference on the drug war, borders, and narcoterrorism at Chapman University School of Law.  See here.   My paper, entitled “It’s the Economy, Stupid:  The Hijacking of the Debate Over Immigration Reform by Monsters, Ghosts, and Goblins (or the War on Drugs, War on Terror, Narcoterrorists, Etc.),” generally contends that immigration primarily is about the movement of labor across borders in an increasingly integrated world economy, not about drugs and terror.  See CHAPMAN_CONFERENCE111 (2)b1.docx (100.60 kb)  I cannot say that my ideas were enthusiastically endorsed by allof the audience in Orange County but it was fun to contribute to the discussion.  Other participants included former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Dean John Eastman (Chapman), who stepped down from the deanship over the weekend to pursue a campaign for the Republican nomination for California Attorney General.

This week, I am headed to Wayne State Law School in Detroit, Michigan for a Wayne Law Review symposium on immigration reform.  My keynote talk with be on Thursday morning and is entitled “Ten Guiding Principles for Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform:  A Blueprint.”  See wayne_state1_1-15111.doc (237.50 kb)  The paper outlines guiding principles that I contend that Congress should follow in pursuing truly comprehensive immigration reform, not the failed “comprehensive” efforts of the past (such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986).  In January, I had the honor of presenting this paper in January to Justices, judges, and law clerks of the Mexican Supreme Electoral Courts

Immigration is one of the many strengths of the UC Davis School of Law.  Professors Bill Ong Hing, Amagda Pérez (who this year won the law school’s Distinguished Teaching Award), Holly Cooper, Raha Jorjani, Cappy White, and Cruz Reynoso all contribute to that strength.   The Immigration Law Clinic is well-known for its great work, with a focus in recent years on immigrant detention.   Next year, Leticia Saucedo, currently at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will be joining our faculty.