Advanced Topics in Law: Immigration Law



Course Number




Course Description

What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States? What do lawful and unlawful status mean? What does it mean to seek asylum or international protection in the United States? What role do race and class play in immigration law? And what do the intersections of these concepts mean for how people experience the immigration law framework? How are these concepts tied to immigration enforcement and what rights and protections do people have in the face of immigration enforcement actions? This course explores these questions with reference to the history of immigration law in the United States, the powers of the federal government in regulating migration, constitutional rights protections, and the involvement of state and local governments in immigration enforcement. The course will examine citizenship, non-immigrant and immigrant visas, the process and substantive grounds for removal, asylum and refugee status, discretionary relief such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ethical issues, and the legal implications of immigration outside the law. The course includes opportunities to conduct legal research, analyse statutes and administrative regulations, as well as in class exercises such as a moot immigration court hearing. The coursework and exercises are designed to provide training in important skills for students considering law school or work in law-related fields, while also providing an overview of immigration law for those interested in intersections with other areas of law.

*This course also satisfies Society & the Individual II.


FAIR 311B or PLSC 311 or permission of instructor.

Materials Fee


Required Texts

Course Texts: Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law.

Other reading materials will be made available online.


S/NX grading. Narrative evaluation.

At a minimum, students must (1) regularly attend class; (2) demonstrate evidence of critical reading and engagement in class discussion; (3) in teams, produce a Know Your Rights resource; (4) produce a legal memo; and (5) participate in the immigration court moot exercise. No course credit will be given for students who miss three or more classes in the quarter.


Fall 2023

Course Instructor(s)


Course Subject