Deborah Anker

Clinical Professor of Law

Director, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic

Biography

Deborah Anker is Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC).  She has taught law students at Harvard for over 30 years.  Author of a leading treatise, Law of Asylum in the United States, Anker has co-drafted ground-breaking gender asylum guidelines and amicus curiae briefs.  Professor Anker is one of the most widely known asylum scholars and practitioners in the United States; she is cited frequently by international and domestic courts and tribunals, including the United States Supreme Court.  Deborah Anker is a pioneer in the development of clinical legal education in the immigration field, training students in direct representation of refugees and creating a foundation for clinics at law schools around the country.

Areas of Interest

Deborah E. Anker, Law of Asylum in the United States (Thomson West 2016).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Book
Abstract
"Law of Asylum in the United States is an authoritative presentation of U.S. asylum law, long considered a must-have publication for practitioners, students, and teachers. It is frequently relied upon and cited by decision makers. Law of Asylum describes and interprets applicable U.S. laws, as well as numerous international sources, providing an up-to-date analysis of all aspects of asylum law. This edition addresses current hot topics such as the recent decision in Matter of A-R-C-G-, finding a Guatemalan woman subject to severe spousal abuse eligible for asylum as a member of a particular social group, as domestic violence may form a basis of an asylum claim and gender may define a particular social group, and the rethinking of social distinction and particularity in social group claims. In addition, the extensive Procedures Appendix, added last year, has been expanded and thoroughly updated to provide an invaluable resource for practitioners and researchers interested in the U.S. asylum and related processes." --Publisher
Deborah Anker & Josh Vittor, International Human Rights and US Refugee Law: Synergies and Contradictions, in Human Rights and the Refugee Definition: Comparative Legal Practice and Theory 109 (Bruce Burson & David James Cantor eds., 2016).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Refugee & Asylum Law
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Book
Deborah E. Anker, Legal Change From the Bottom Up: The Development of Gender Asylum Jurisprudence in the United States, in Gender in Refugee Law: From the Margins to the Centre 46 (Efrat Arbel, Catherine Dauvergne & Jenni Millbank eds., 2014).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Book
Abstract
Questions of gender have strongly influenced the development of international refugee law over the last few decades. This volume assesses the progress toward appropriate recognition of gender-related persecution in refugee law.
Deborah E. Anker & Palmer Lawrence, 'Third Generation' Gangs, Warfare in Central America, and Refugee Law’s Political Opinion Ground, 14-10 Immigr. Briefings (Oct. 2014).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Deborah E. Anker, Grutter v. Bollinger: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Legitimization of the Role of Comparative and International Law in U.S. Jurisprudence, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 425 (2013). (Essays in Honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Legal Theory & Philosophy
,
Foreign Law
,
International Law
Type: Article
Deborah E. Anker & Sabrineh Ardalan, Escalating Persecution of Gays and Refugee Protection: Comment on Queer Cases Make Bad Law, 44 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 529 (2012).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
LGBTQ Rights Law
,
Immigration Law
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Abstract
The authors discuss the escalation of persecution regarding the protection of gays and refugees with respect to the article written by Josan Pobjoy and James C. Hathaway. They are critical of the ideas of Hathaway and Pobjoy on the false analyzing by the courts of Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia on the refugee status of the LGBT people. Information on the jurisprudence by the courts of the U.S. on the issue of sexual orientation is also presented.
Fatma E. Marouf & Deborah E. Anker, Socioeconomic Rights and Refugee Status: Deepening the Dialogue Between Human Rights and Refugee Law, 103 Am. J. Int'l L. 784 (2009).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Refugee & Asylum Law
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Article
Abstract
Over the past two decades, international human rights law has provided an increasingly useful framework for interpreting key criteria of the definition of a refugee. A human rights-based approach to analyzing refugee status helps to increase consistency and uniformity in decision making by state parties regarding who qualifies for international protection. Michelle Foster's book, International Refugee Law and Socio-economic Rights: Refuge from Deprivation (Cambridge U. Press 2007), comes at a critical time, not only because of increasing acceptance of the connection between refugee law and human rights law and significant developments in the current understanding of economic and social rights, but also because more asylum applicants are articulating the aspects of their claims involving socioeconomic deprivation. All jurisdictions, including the United States, now recognize that socioeconomic harm can rise to the level of persecution, but inconsistencies and insecurities still obstruct attempts at coherent analysis. Foster's meticulous research, sober reasoning, and original analysis may encourage additional scholarship on these pressing issues and lead to a more sophisticated understanding of both the refugee definition and the substantive content of economic and social rights. The proper adjudication of socioeconomic claims will likely play a vital role in challenging the lingering, dominant orthodoxy of civil and political rights, help coalesce the relationship between human rights and refugee law, and promote the development of refugee law, with some coherency, as a body of law.
Deborah E. Anker, Matthew Muller, Emily Gumper & Jean C. Han, Any Real Change: Credibility and Corroboration After the REAL ID Act, in Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook 357 (Richard J. Link ed., Am. Immigration Lawyers Ass'n 2008).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
Type: Book
Abstract
Written three years after the enactment of the REAL ID Act, this piece analyzes the implications of the act on assessments of credibility and corroboration requirements in asylum and related protection cases.
Deborah E. Anker, Refugee Law, Gender and the Human Rights Paradigm, in Passing Lines: Sexuality and Immigration (Brad Epps ed., Harv. Univ. Press 2005).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Book
Abstract
The book looks at the complexities, inconsistencies, and paradoxes of immigration from the point of view of both academics and practitioners in the field.
Deborah E. Anker, Refugee Protection, Gender-Based Violence and Trafficking in Persons, 23 In Defense of the Alien 129 (2000).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Immigration Law
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Deborah Anker, Women Refugees: Forgotten no longer?, in Europe and Refugees: a challenge? (Jean-Yves Carlier & Dirk Vanheule eds., 1997).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Refugee & Asylum Law
,
European Law
,
Human Rights Law
Type: Book
Deborah Anker, Lauren Gilbert & Nancy Kelly, Women Whose Governments Are Unable or Unwilling to Provide Reasonable Protection from Domestic Violence May Qualify as Refugees under United States Asylum Law, 11 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 709 (1997).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Immigration Law
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Refugee & Asylum Law
Type: Article
Abstract
Since the issuance of the United States Gender Guidelines in 1995, the immigration agencies have faced special challenges in applying them in particular cases, and in institutionalizing their commitments and principles. Since adoption of the guidelines, many asylum officers, immigration judges and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) trial attorneys have shown greater sensitivity in addressing gender-related asylum claims. Nonetheless, in some cases lawyers for the INS have suggested that a heightened test of extraordinary persecution is appropriate or that the applicant must show persecution on account of gender plus something else in order to prevail. Claims involving domestic violence have raised particular concerns. Although the guidelines state that domestic violence can be the basis for an asylum claim, some INS attorneys have suggested that domestic violence is a private family matter not subject to protection under United States asylum law. As a result, this article originally was submitted as a position paper by the Refugee Law Center, Inc. and the Women and International Law Program of American University's Washington College of Law, in collaboration with other nongovernmental organizations, to the INS. Its purpose was to provide a framework of analysis of domestic violence as a human rights violation and as a basis for asylum protection.

Bar Admissions

Current Courses

Course Catalog View