Biden and Trudeau’s immigration deal makes it easier for both countries to turn away asylum seekers
March 27, 2023
In his first state visit to Canada since taking office, President Joe Biden announced an immigration deal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that enables…
Notes and Comment, an annual event held at the Harvard Law School Library, helps students working on writing projects find faculty mentors.
Harvard Law School faculty members Sabrineh Ardalan, Michael Gregory, and Scott Westfahl candidly discussed their experiences with mental health, during and after law school, and shared how those have informed their work and strategies for well-being.
Henry Beshar and Stacey Menjivar receive 2022 Clinical Legal Education Association Awards
May 24, 2022
Henry Beshar ’22 and Stacey Menjivar ’22 are the recipients of the 2022 Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Awards. The awards are presented annually to students…
Weighing President Biden’s first year: Immigration
January 18, 2022
Sabrineh Ardalan, of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, praises Biden for jettisoning some Trump-era policies, but says he has also “doubled down on” on the former administration’s “draconian … border policies.”
Harvard Law School’s 2021 Last Lecture Series
May 5, 2021
The Last Lecture Series at Harvard Law School, sponsored annually by the 3L and LL.M. class marshals, is an HLS tradition in which selected faculty members impart insight, advice, and final words of wisdom to the graduating class.
Drawing on her own experiences in life and the law, Clinical Professor Sabrineh Ardalan stressed the importance of community, especially during a year of shutdown during her Last Lecture to graduating students.
Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program blocks another Trump administration asylum rule
January 13, 2021
In a case brought by the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, a California District Court last week issued a preliminary injunction blocking a Trump administration rule that would gut protections for people fleeing persecution and torture.
Judge blocks wide-ranging asylum limits, finding DHS chief did not have authority to issue them
January 12, 2021
Another federal judge on Friday ruled that Chad Wolf was likely unlawfully appointed to his position at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), issuing a decision that blocked a set of broad asylum limits slated to take effect Monday. In a scathing 14-page decision, Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco agreed with other federal judges who have concluded that DHS failed to follow proper legal procedures when installing Wolf as the department's acting secretary...Donato said Wolf did not have the authority to greenlight a regulation that would erect new restrictions at every stage of the U.S. asylum process, including rules that generally disqualify victims of gang violence, gender-based persecution, domestic abuse and torture staged by "rogue" government officials from U.S. refuge. Donato issued a nation-wide preliminary injunction against the policy, which advocates dubbed the "death to asylum" rule. "This is the most far-reaching of the midnight asylum regulations unveiled in the Trump administration's final days," said Sabrineh Ardalan, the director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical program, one of the groups challenging the policy. "But try as it may, this administration cannot destroy our asylum system and rewrite our laws by executive fiat."
2020 in pictures
January 5, 2021
A look back at the year at HLS.
Bacow letter urges Biden to reverse Trump immigration curbs
December 16, 2020
Harvard President Larry Bacow has urged President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to reverse a series of immigration restrictions imposed by the Trump administration over the past four years, arguing that the steady flow of talented immigrants to the United States — many coming to study at a college or university — historically has been a key ingredient of the nation’s innovation economy. In a letter sent Monday congratulating Biden on his election victory, Bacow wrote in support of the incoming administration’s plans to rescind the ban on travel from certain Muslim-majority countries, reinstate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, and reissue Temporary Protected Status for people from countries experiencing war or natural disasters...Sabrineh Ardalan, who directs the Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Harvard Law School, also welcomed Bacow’s letter. “The University’s continued advocacy on behalf of people with DACA and TPS is incredibly important,” said Ardalan. “It is critical that the Biden administration fully reinstate DACA and TPS and work with Congress to create a path to permanent residency and citizenship for DACA recipients and TPS holders.”
Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program scores a victory for asylum seekers
November 20, 2020
In recent court victory, students from the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program help safeguard the lives of countless asylum seekers by preventing more stringent federal immigration rules from going into effect.
Sharing stress strategies
October 14, 2020
For ABA Mental Health Day, five faculty share struggles from their own law school days and offer options for coping and support.
Two clinics at HLS— the Cyberlaw Clinic and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic—partner on a case involving warrantless device searches at the U.S. border
Distance Learning Up Close
July 23, 2020
Teaching and learning at Harvard Law School in the first months of the pandemic
An article by Sabrineh Ardalan: Asylum lawyers have long grappled with a tension inherent in refugee law – how to win protection for individual clients without reinforcing victim narratives and negative stereotypes about other cultures and countries. Last month, the Trump administration seized upon this tension in a new 161-page proposal that would rewrite the refugee definition and cut off most asylum seekers from protection. Specifically, the rule would make ‘evidence based on stereotypes’ inadmissible – on its face an unobjectionable proposal. Indeed, at a time when we are all called upon to challenge our assumptions, reflect on our biases, and address the ways in which our laws and legal practice reinforce systemic racism, the provision would appear to be both timely and necessary. Yet, because of the corroborating evidence so often required to establish asylum eligibility, the provision would make it difficult, if not impossible, for many to obtain protection. The rule’s wide-ranging provisions include measures to fast-track deportations of asylum seekers, reject asylum applications as frivolous without ever affording asylum seekers a day in court, ratchet up the type of harm required to demonstrate eligibility for protection, and make it extraordinarily difficult to show a connection between the harm suffered or feared and a protected ground, as the refugee definition requires. It would be too much to expect that a timely provision would be responsive to refugees’ plight in the current moment, instead of another cruel attack on asylum.
... Members of the community, including students and alumni who are protected under DACA praised the Court’s ruling, among them Mitchell Santos Toledo, J.D. ’20, a recent Harvard Law School graduate who arrived in Cambridge not long after President Donald Trump announced his plans in 2017 to cancel the program, which had been instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012. “It was rough. You’re talking about moving across the country, starting this huge academic journey at a School at Harvard, and then having the only semblance of protection that you’ve known for the past five, six years sort of just yanked from underneath you,” said Toledo, whose name was listed in the documents submitted to the court in support of DACA. ... At Harvard Law School, Professor Sabrineh Ardalan broke down the decision, saying that the court found the administration hadn’t adequately explained why DACA was unlawful. “The court says that if the administration wanted to end DACA, it would have had to engage in a much more rigorous analysis, including of the reliance interests at stake, and it didn’t provide a reasoned explanation for its decision. And so, its decision to end the program was arbitrary and capricious because it didn’t go through those steps,” said Ardalan, who directs the Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Harvard Law School, which helps hundreds of people with undocumented status through a range of programs.
At Harvard, Niku Jafarnia J.D. / M.P.P. ’20 found a wealth of ways to advocate for refugees
May 24, 2020
With the aim of advocating for refugees, Niku Jafarnia J.D. / M.P.P.’20 focused on the intersection of refugee rights, armed conflict, and counterterrorism as joint law and public policy student at Harvard.