Defending Human Rights of Migrants - Miami Law Kicks Off Timely Lecture Series

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Artwork for Defending Human Rights of Migrants Lecture

Miami Law has launched a “Defending Human Rights of Migrants Lecture Series” which consists of three fall lectures and will continue in the spring. Kele Stewart, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning believes “these issues directly impact our South Florida community, so it was important for UM Law School to have an ongoing series to explore the many facets of the debate.”

Miami Law kicks off the lecture series on September 16 with “SB 168: Florida’s New Anti-Immigrant Law” sponsored by Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic, Human Rights Clinic, Children & Youth Law Clinic, and the Immigration Students Law Association.

This lecture includes Senior Staff Attorney A.J. Hernandez Anderson from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Laura Munoz, hotline manager for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and South Miami Mayor Philip K. Stoddard.

Miami Law Dean and M. Minnette Massey Professor of Law Anthony E. Varona will deliver opening remarks; Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic Director Rebecca Sharpless will moderate the Monday, September 16 discussion at 12:30 p.m. in the 4th floor Faculty Meeting Room of the Law Library.

Florida Senate Bill 168 targets sanctuary cities and is scheduled to go into effect on October 1.

“The panel brings together plaintiffs and attorneys on the lawsuit,” says Sharpless “and will provide insights into both the legal principles at issue and the reality of how local law enforcement's collaboration with ICE plays out on the ground.”

Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic, with the SPLC and the Community Justice Project, have filed for a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, would halt the implementation of the law until the lawsuit is heard on the merits. A judge has scheduled a hearing and third-year immigration clinic student Amelia Hayes is part of the litigation team and has helped draft key pleadings in the last weeks.

Annual Henkin Lecture on Human Rights - “Race, Gender, and Nation in the Age of Shifting Borders”

On Tuesday, October 15, Miami Law will present the 7th Annual Louis Henkin Lecture, this year with Catherine Powell, an adjunct senior fellow in the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations and a professor at Fordham Law School, where she teaches international law, human rights, constitutional law, and comparative constitutional law.

In the lecture, “Race, Gender, and Nation in the Age of Shifting Borders,” Powell will draw upon her conversations with Henkin (who fled Europe and helped draft the Refugee Convention) to critique the current immigration debate as both raced and gendered, and will call for transformative law reform through a politics of solidarity across race and gender, and that accords with human rights norms and America’s founding principles. Henkin, the prominent law professor at Columbia University School of Law, was one of the founders of the academic study of human rights and inspired a whole generation of human rights lawyers, scholars, and activists, including some of Miami Law's professors.

“The current immigration debate in the U.S. brings us face-to-face with fundamental questions of when, whether, and how international human rights obligations in the U.S. are respected and implemented,” said Human Rights Clinic Director Caroline Bettinger-López, who organized the lecture. “We are thrilled that Professor Catherine Powell, whose mentor was the great human rights scholar Louis Henkin and who has been a mentor to me since I was her 2L student in Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic, will deliver this year’s Louis Henkin Human Rights Lecture at Miami Law.”

The Henkin lecture requires registration and will take place at the law school in room E352 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Lecture on Family Separation and Juvenile Detention

The third lecture this fall will address family separation and juvenile detention. “The forced separation of children from their parents at the border, and the inhumane conditions for children who are detained have provided some of the most heart-wrenching images in the current immigration debate,” said Professor Kele Stewart, co-director of the University of Miami Children and Youth Clinic.

The November panel will include Jennifer Anzardo Valdes, director of the Children’s Legal Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice. AIJ represents undocumented children at the Homestead detention center, which gained national attention for its treatment of migrant children. The panel will also explore recent impact litigation aimed at addressing detention and family separation policies. To provide legal context for much of the current debate, panelist will provide the history of the Flores Settlement Agreement, the decades-old settlement that set time limits and conditions on the detention of immigrant children, as well as other relevant law.

The series will continue in the spring. “This is a pressing national conversation, in which several UM faculty are actively engaged,” says Stewart.

Register for the September 16 Lecture “SB 168: Florida’s New Anti-Immigrant Law

Register for the October 15 Henkin Lecture on Human Rights