Spring 2024 Human Rights BC3935 section 001

Power, Politics, and Procedure in US Imm

Power in Immigration Cour

Call Number 00030
Day & Time
WF 2:10pm-4:00pm
Points 5
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Amelia Frank-Vitale
Course Description

Immigration court has been described as akin to trying death penalty cases in traffic court. With a backlog of over two million cases and counting, judges have impossibly full dockets, cases get continued at the last minute, and many people are left to their own devices to try to make sense of what their options might be to stay in the United States. A key part of this confusion is because immigration court – though the stakes of decisions are as high as can be – is civil, not criminal. Given this, individuals are not guaranteed the right to a court appointed attorney. New York City, however, has been on the forefront of trying to remedy at least this part of the equation, piloting a unique program to guarantee representation to New Yorkers facing removal proceedings. While having access to an attorney can make a meaningful difference, immigration judges still enjoy wide discretion in how they decide a given case.

The core idea of this course is that there is a real utility to observing immigration court, both for research and for contributing to social change.  This course will center around a practice of court watching in immigration court in order to develop a scholarly analysis of systems, institutions, and the functioning (or not) of the law. At the same time, this court watching practice will also involve the systematic collection of qualitative data that may be directly useful to immigration attorneys and their clients in their perpetual effort to hold immigration courts accountable and create as fair as possible of a playing field that upholds the basic principles of human rights. To that end, in this class we will study how to conduct courtroom observations, drawing from different methodological approaches and findings, study the idea, history, and critiques of immigration law from across disciplines, and conduct extensive, in depth, immigration court watching. We will partner with local legal services organizations in order to sharpen our sense of what kinds of data is useful for their specific legal interventions and to ensure that the data that we do collect and interpret can become part of a larger project to hold courts accountable.

This course will offer students a unique opportunity to see how rigorous social science research and analysis can have real impacts in the world beyond the classroom, and how those two realms, through collaboration, can mutually contribute to advancing social change. They will learn first-hand how the careful application of qualitative

Web Site Vergil
Department Human Rights (HRTB)
Enrollment 22 students (20 max) as of 6:05PM Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Status Full
Subject Human Rights
Number BC3935
Section 001
Division Barnard College
Note Apply here: https://forms.gle/gDVkip4mNvXQKTfp7
Section key 20241HRTS3935X001