Professor Irwin Stotzky’s New Book on Haitian Refugees and the Rule of Law


Professor Irwin Stotzky’s new book, Send Them Back, was released last week by Carolina Academic Press.

Professor Irwin Stotzky

Send Them Back tells part of the story of a remarkable attempt, which spanned four decades, to bring the rule of law to refugees from the troubled nation of Haiti. It discusses several of the cases that civil rights lawyers, working directly with Haitians and other activists, filed and litigated for Haitian refugees, and the legal, social, and political aspects of such litigation. The litigation fostered structural legal changes, policies meant to cure the inequities in the treatment of refugees, and a determined political opposition to unfair and illegal immigration decisions.

For the past four decades, Stotzky has represented Haitian and other refugees on constitutional and human rights issues in many cases, including several cases in the United States Supreme Court. 

He served as an adviser to the Alfonsin regime in Argentina on what steps to take, including human rights trials, against those who committed massive human rights abuses during the so-called ‘‘dirty war.’’ He also served as an attorney and adviser to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and as an adviser to President René Preval’s administration. 

Stotzky has published numerous articles and books on democracy and human rights, criminal law and procedure, and the role of the judiciary in the transition to democracy. His books include The Theory and Craft of American Law: Elements (with Soia Mentschikoff), Transition to Democracy in Latin America: The Role of the Judiciary, Silencing the Guns in Haiti: The Promise of Deliberative Democracy, and Law as Justice: The Moral Imperative of Owen Fiss’s Scholarship.

For his representation of refugees in a series of cases before the United States Supreme Court and his human rights work abroad, Stotzky received human rights awards from the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Haitian Refugee Center. He also received the Inter-American Law Review’s 1997 Lawyer of the Americas award for his work in investigating human rights abuses worldwide and his scholarship. 

He is a member of the editorial board, and special editor for “Deliberative Commentary: The Nexus of Democratic Theory and Law,” for the journal Democratic Theory. He is also one of the founders and a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Stotzky was the founder and served as director for many years of the former University of Miami Center for the Study of Human Rights. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, has been a visiting scholar at the Yale Law School, and a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina. 

Send Them Back is available through Amazon.