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Spring 2021 Course

Strategic Litigation and Immigration Advocacy

Note This offering will not count towards the JD experiential learning requirement.

There is perhaps no other area of law that has been more profoundly altered in the last few years than immigration. The field has seen dramatic shifts in enforcement priorities, executive action, state and local responses, and courts’ willingness to weigh-in on issues that they had previously refuse to opine on. The goal of this course is to teach students how to develop and reflect on creative litigation and policy advocacy strategies in a range of different contexts.

The course will leverage the experience and expertise of Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (“HIRC”) attorneys along with their community partners to explore the multitude of ways immigration policies can be challenged and reshaped. Case studies will include the Muslim Ban, efforts to end Temporary Protected Status, new rules restricting asylum protection, state and local “sanctuary” policies, community organizing and empowerment, and media as an advocacy tool.

The course will explore challenges to precedent through appellate litigation, strategic litigation in district court and administrative tribunals, policy-making at the state and local levels, and different approaches to influencing policy makers and the public. Many of these strategies build upon HIRC’s long-standing commitment to changing the law from the bottom up.

In addition to class discussion, simulations, and other interactive classroom modules, the course will feature guest lectures from community partners and advocates with whom HIRC has worked on various litigation and policy advocacy projects.

Please Note: This spring course serves as the clinical seminar requirement for the spring 2021 Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. All students participating in the spring clinic are required to enroll in this course. If you are enrolled in the clinic, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs will take care of your enrollment in this course. If you choose to drop the spring clinic, you will also lose your seat in this required course. Students who are enrolled in this course through the clinic have an early drop deadline of December 4, 2020.