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Deborah Anker

  • Why A Single Question Decides The Fates Of Central American Migrants

    February 26, 2016

    ...Like the thousands of Central Americans who increasingly are seeking asylum in the United States, Trejo's future will be determined by how a judge interprets one sentence from a law passed in 1980. It puts him smack in the middle of a debate fraught with politics and argued in a system that has struggled to find an answer to what seems like a simple question: When is a migrant a refugee?...The question of whether Central Americans fleeing violence should be considered refugees under the law has been debated since the 1980 Refugee Act was passed. Deborah Anker, a professor at Harvard Law and one of the pre-eminent scholars on asylum law in the United States, says before that time, U.S. law gave asylum only to migrants from the Middle East or communist countries. "We were really trapped in this Cold War framework, whereas the international definition was global and humanitarian in its basic focus," Anker says.

  • U.S. Republicans seek to shut door on Syrian refugees after Paris

    November 16, 2015

    More than a dozen state governors refused on Monday to accept Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks, part of a mounting Republican backlash against the Obama administration's plan to accept thousands more immigrants from the war-torn country. Leading Republican presidential candidates called on President Barack Obama to suspend the plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year and some Republican lawmakers began moves in Congress to try to defund the policy..."The federal government has the power over immigration. If they admit Syrian refugees, they're here," said Deborah Anker, a professor of law at Harvard Law School who specializes in immigration issues. "People aren't going to the (state) border. The federal government is going to bring them in."

  • The myth of the ‘anchor baby’ deportation defense

    August 24, 2015

    ... [A] whole range of people have used the term "anchor baby" this week in public discussions about Trump's immigration-related policy ideas -- ideas that include an end to the nearly 150-year-old practice of granting citizenship to anyone born in the United StatesIt's the former, known as "birthright citizenship," which is delineated in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. And as all sorts of public figures have discussed the future of the 14th Amendment this week, the more colloquial -- many say pejorative -- term "anchor baby" has come up over and over again. But the anchor baby, while potent politically, is a largely mythical idea. ... Alternatively, these parents can apply for something even more rare: an extreme hardship exception, according to Deborah Anker, a clinical professor of law and director of the Harvard University Law School’s immigration and refugee clinical program. Very rarely they can apply for a waiver that may allow them to reenter the United States sooner, Anker said. But if that request is denied, there is no form of appeal available. Decisions are final.

  • Anker, Immigration Clinic Win Human Rights Award

    April 28, 2015

    Clinical Professor of Law Deborah Anker and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) will receive a prestigious human rights award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the leading immigration bar association, in June.

  • Deborah Anker posing beside a hanging tapestry

    Classroom to courtroom: Law School immigration counseling program helps the powerless while educating students

    October 14, 2014

    The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at HLS, which marked its 30th anniversary this year, trains students to represent refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.

  • Classroom to courtroom

    October 14, 2014

    Harvard Law School students with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) were working with Greater Boston Legal Services on a case involving a Guatemalan man in the summer of 2013 when they collectively had an “aha” moment. The pressure was high, and everybody was working on two sets of legal briefs that were due before the court. “We were having a meeting here, and all of a sudden everybody understood what was on the table, and the writing was very powerful,” said John Willshire Carrera, co-director of the HIRC site at Greater Boston Legal Services. The HIRC program trains students to represent refugees seeking asylum in the United States, as well as other immigrants, said Deborah Anker, the program’s director and a clinical professor of law.

  • In First for Court, Woman Is Ruled Eligible for Asylum in U.S. on Basis of Domestic Abuse

    September 2, 2014

    The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States. The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from Guatemala resolved nearly two decades of hard-fought legal battles over whether such women could be considered victims of persecution…But Deborah Anker, a Harvard law professor who directs the university’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, said the decision would be seized by many women whose cases are already in court, including from other countries where domestic violence is rampant, and by women who crossed the Southwest border recently. Border authorities have been pressing for quick deportations of recent migrants, but now Central American women will have a broader basis to seek a full hearing of their asylum claims.

  • HIRC plays key role in landmark decision recognizing domestic violence as grounds for asylum

    August 27, 2014

    The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a ground-breaking decision yesterday that recognized domestic violence as a basis for asylum. The court’s decision

  • Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program attains major First Circuit victory involving persecution in Guatemala

    July 30, 2014

    In a landmark immigration decision involving a claim of eligibility for asylum, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an opinion finding past persecution in the case of a Mayan man, based on the long history of genocide in Guatemala and related racist mistreatment. The client in the case, Manuel Ordonez-Quino, was represented by Harvard Law School Senior Clinical Instructors John Willshire Carrera and Nancy Kelly, co-managing directors of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services.

  • David Thronson, Margaret Stock '92, Ira Kurzban, and Pratt speaking at a table in front of the room

    Ninth Circuit judge recounts landmark case at HIRC 30th anniversary

    July 22, 2014

    On June 17, about 200 Harvard Law School alumni and students gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of the Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC). It was a celebration of "30 Years of Social Change Lawyering," and it brought together advocates from around the country and the world.

  • Deborah Anker

    Anker on Immigration Rights: ‘We need civil Gideon’

    May 9, 2014

    For three decades, Deborah Anker has encouraged students to pursue a more generous immigration policy.

  • Broken Heart illustration Harvard Immigration Project

    HLS students draft memorandum accompanying bill to restore immigrant trust in local law enforcement

    February 13, 2014

    Thirty-three professors from Massachusetts law schools have signed on to an important legal opinion drafted by Harvard Law students in support of the Massachusetts Trust Act. The bill seeks to restore the immigrant community’s trust in local law enforcement by limiting the role of local police authorities in the deportation process.

  • Harvard report finds Canada, U.S. failing in refugee protection

    November 26, 2013

    On November 26, 2013, the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) released a comprehensive report titled "Bordering on Failure: Canada-U.S. Border Policy and the Politics of Refugee Exclusion." The report examines Canadian border measures designed to intercept and deflect "undesirable travelers", including asylum seekers, before they set foot on Canadian soil and make a claim for refugee protection.

  • Book Jacket

    Recent Faculty Books – Fall 2012

    October 1, 2012

    Professor Einer Elhauge ’86 is author of the e-book “Obamacare On Trial” (Edward Elgar), focused on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act case decided by the Supreme Court in June. Elhauge raises points that were not aired in the courtroom, including the fact that the constitutional framers themselves had approved mandates to buy health insurance.

  • Anker elected to the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation

    September 19, 2011

    For upholding the highest principles of the legal profession and for outstanding dedication to the welfare of others, HLS Clinical Professor Deborah Anker LL.M. ’84 was recently elected to the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Anker, one of the nation’s top scholars in immigration law, is director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and has taught immigration law and supervised clinical students for over 20 years.

  • HLS Dean Martha Minow

    Six Harvard Law School professors and six ideas worth spreading, in 60 minutes (video)

    June 17, 2011

    This year’s “HLS Thinks Big” event, inspired by the global TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) talks and modeled after the College’s “Harvard Thinks Big” event first held last year, took place on May 23, featuring topics ranging from legal assistance for undocumented students to risk analysis in constitutional design.

  • Clinical Professor Deborah Anker

    Anker named 2009 Woman of Justice

    November 18, 2009

    Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers and the Women’s Bar Association have recognized Professor Deborah Anker, LL.M. ’84, one of the world’s leading scholars and practitioners of immigration law, as a 2009 Woman of Justice.

  • HIRC director Deborah Anker receives NGO Lawyer of the Year award

    Immigrants’ Rights Group Honors Deborah Anker

    November 20, 2008

    Deborah Anker, director of the HLS Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and a clinical professor of law, has received an award from the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) in New York recognizing her pioneering work in humanitarian protection for immigrants fleeing protection.

  • Anker receives prestigious immigration law teaching award

    July 3, 2008

    Deborah Anker, director of the HLS Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and a clinical professor of law, received the Elmer Fried Award for Excellence in Teaching on June 28 at the annual meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Vancouver.

  • Professors Ayelet Shachar, Gerald Neuman, and Deborah Anker

    Panel looks at the "shifting borders" of U.S. immigration law

    February 11, 2008

    The distinction between citizen and non-citizen lies at the heart of immigration law, and is often drawn at the border. But where precisely does the “border” lie in U.S. immigration law and practice?