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Spring 2025 Course

Strategic Litigation and Immigration Advocacy

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

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 refused 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 (“HIRCP”) attorneys along with their community partners to explore the multitude of ways immigration policies can be challenged and reshaped. Case studies will include new rules restricting asylum protection, state and local “sanctuary” policies, detention and the criminalization of immigrants, 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 HIRCP’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 HIRCP has worked on various litigation and policy advocacy projects.