On July 21, 2017, Professor Jennifer Koh co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of 35 immigration law professors and clinicians in Garcia-Martinez v. Sessions, No. 16-72940, arguing that the immigration law definition of a “crime involving moral turpitude” is unconstitutionally vague under the void for vagueness doctrine. The amicus brief drew upon arguments discussed in Professor Koh’s 2016 law review article, Crimmigration and the Void for Vagueness Doctrine, 2016 Wis. L. Rev. 1127. The brief was co-authored by Professor Kari Hong, an Assistant Professor at Boston College Law School.
Professor Jennifer Koh has published, “Removal in the Shadows of Immigration Court” in the Southern California Law Review. The Article contends that critiques of immigration adjudication are incomplete and understated, because they have failed to account for the following reality: the vast majority of persons ordered removed never step foot inside a courtroom. Even when cases commence before the immigration courts, a substantial number result in removal orders without adjudication of the merits of the case. Removal in what this Article calls the “shadows of immigration court” has far eclipsed standard removal proceedings. The Article provides a descriptive account of five types of removal orders that comprise immigration court’s shadows: (1) expedited removal at the border, (2) reinstatement of prior removal orders, (3) administrative removal of non-lawful permanent residents with aggravated felony convictions, (4) stipulated removal orders following waivers of the right to a court hearing, and (5) in absentia orders for failure to appear in immigration court. The Article identifies several concerns that apply to mainstream immigration court proceedings, and asserts that those critiques are amplified in such shadow proceedings. It concludes by arguing for more sustained inclusion of shadow proceedings in reform proposals directed at improving immigration adjudication. The citation for the article is Jennifer Lee Koh, Removal in the Shadows of Immigration Court, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. 181 (2017).
Professor Jennifer Koh recently published Crimmigration and the Void for Vagueness in the Wisconsin Law Review. The article discusses the application of the void for vagueness doctrine to crime-based removal provisions in the immigration law. It argues that the federal courts should find several immigration provisions unconstitutionally vague because the twin values animating vagueness doctrine–providing reasonable notice and preventing arbitrary or discriminatory law enforcement practices–apply with exceptional force in immigration, an area of law in which the liberty stakes of the crime-based removal grounds are high, notice is critical, and the risk of arbitrariness and discrimination by government actors at multiple levels is acute. The article was cited in the merits brief of the Respondent as well as the amicus brief submitted by the National Immigration Project to the United States Supreme Court in Sessions v. Dimaya, a case involving whether 18 U.S.C. sec. 16(b), as incorporated into the federal immigration law, is unconstitutionally vague. The citation for the article is 2016 Wis. L. Rev. 1127.
On February 24, Professor Jennifer Koh spoke at an immigration law symposium hosted by The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice, in San Antonio, Texas. Her presentation was based on her forthcoming publication, Removal in the Shadows of Immigration Court, 90 S. Cal. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming, 2017), which discusses the various removal procedures that enable the government to deport certain noncitizens without hearings before immigration courts or that involve minimal substantive review by those courts.
On November 14, 2016, Professors Andrew Knapp and Jennifer Koh co-authored an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Szonyi v. Lynch, a case involving the immigration consequences of crime. The amicus brief addresses the application of the doctrines of Chevron deference, constitutional avoidance and void for vagueness to the Board of Immigration Appeals’ interpretation of a “single scheme of criminal misconduct.” The brief was submitted on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)’s Amicus Committee.
Professor Knapp is currently counsel to Respondent James Dimaya in Lynch v. Dimaya, a Supreme Court case that will be argued in early 2017 involving whether the definition of “crimes of violence” in the immigration context is unconstitutionally vague. Professor Koh has authored an article, forthcoming in the December 2016 volume of the Wisconsin Law Review, entitled “Crimmigration and the Void for Vagueness Doctrine,” which explores the void for vagueness doctrine in the context of crime-based removal statutes in more depth.
Staff Attorney Sabrina Rivera served as a panelist at the Immigration Attorney Panel held at Whittier Law School on November 7. The panel discussed careers and networking for law students within Immigration Law. Other participating firms included Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP; Law Offices of Maciel & Ayala, LLP; Law Office of Noreen Barcena; and My Advocate Group.
Professor Jennifer Koh was interviewed for Bloomberg BNA’s “Cases and Controversies” podcast. Episode 11 of the podcast, entitled “Immigration Evolution,” focused on two immigration cases before the United States Supreme Court this term–Jennings v. Rodriguez and Lynch v. Morales-Santana–and the implications of those cases for traditional deference that the Court extends to Congress in the area of immigration. Other immigration law scholars featured in the podcast were Jason Cade (University of Georgia), Gabriel Chin (UC Davis), Kevin Johnson (UC Davis), Nancy Morawetz (NYU), and Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA).