Course No.: Law-655-001 (Fall 2012)
Credits: 3 credits
Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 6:00 to 7:20 p.m.
Instructor: David M. McConnell, (202) 616-4881, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF THE COURSE
Welcome to the immigration law course. The objective of the course is to examine the
administrative and legal framework regulating the admission of non-citizens to the United States,
the legal processes available for achieving lawful status, including naturalization, and the tools
available to the government for removing immigration law violators. The course will also
provide you with an introduction to our country’s asylum and refugee laws.
During the last three decades or so, immigration has been the subject of intense public
debate, just as it is now. As a result, Congress has been very active in legislating a series of
immigration reforms that have not only kept immigration practitioners busy, but have also
provided expanded opportunities for graduating law students to enter this unique field of law.
The courts are still grappling with complex issues raised by the implementation of the Illegal
Immigration and Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). IIRIRA brought
fundamental changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These changes, most of
which became effective on April 1, 1997, have resulted in increased litigation, as well as greater
concern among immigrants who are in the United States in an unlawful status. The events of
September 11, 2001, precipitated a new round of legislative and administrative measures
designed to enhance immigration controls. In particular, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) was abolished and its functions were transferred to the newly created Department
of Homeland Security (DHS). Additionally, in 2005 Congress enacted the REAL ID Act in an
effort, among other objectives, to streamline judicial review of immigration decisions.
Even if you never plan to practice immigration law for a living, it is almost certain that
you will run into someone who has an immigration problem. Or perhaps you will do some badly
needed pro bono immigration work for your future law firm. This course will introduce you to
the basics of immigration and asylum law, and to the complex changes brought about by IIRIRA
and the events of 9/11.
As you will see, immigration issues necessarily raise difficult policy questions that now
sharply intersect homeland security issues. Although the focus of the course is on a "survey of
the law," we will discuss some of the most significant policy questions facing the decision
makers and the public at large.
Classroom participation will count for 20% of the final grade. Class participation is
expected of all students. Students must attend at least 21 classes to receive credit for class
participation. Students will have an opportunity to earn extra credit points through participating
in an in-class immigration court mock hearing, and an immigration court observation exercise at
the Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia.
The examination will count for 80% of the final grade. Grading will be based on an open
book exam at the end of the semester. Date and time for the examination will be announced.
Course-related materials and announcements will be posted on MyWCL from time to
time, including additional reading materials when assigned.
Since there are no formal office hours, students may communicate with me by email or by
telephone. If necessary, students may make an appointment to meet with me during business
IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP (Seventh Edition), by Aleinikoff, Martin & Motomura,
IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES: SELECTED STATUTES,
REGULATIONS & FORMS (2011), by Aleinikoff, Martin & Motomura, eds. [NOTE: 2008, 2009 &
2010 editions also acceptable.]
Please note that reading assignments may be adjusted from time to time. In addition to the
readings assigned from the casebook for each class and any supplemental reading materials
handed out in class, students should read the pertinent portions of the Immigration and Nationality
Act (INA) and regulations in the Statutory Supplement.
David M. McConnell has been an attorney for 28 years, is a member of the government’s
Senior Executive Service, and in April 2011 was appointed to the position of Director of the
Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) Appellate Section, Civil Division, United States
Department of Justice. From 2001 until 2006, Mr. McConnell also was an adjunct professor for
legal research and writing at the George Washington University Law School, and he spent a
semester teaching legal writing in 2003 at the University College Cork, Cork City, Ireland. Mr.
McConnell has taught immigration law at WCL since 2006, and also teaches a course in asylum
and refugee law (spring semester). In the spring of 2012, he taught immigration law at the
University of Alabama Law School.
Mr. McConnell graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1981, and
subsequently obtained his law degree from the Wake Forest University Law School in 1984.
Following graduation from Wake Forest, he joined the Solicitor’s Office of the United States
Department of Labor, Division of Mine Safety and Health. In his six years at the Labor
Department, he drafted significant worker safety and health regulations, advised the client agency
on major policy and enforcement issues, and represented the Secretary of Labor in administrative
trial and appellate proceedings and in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Mr. McConnell transferred to the Office of Immigration Litigation in September 1990 and
has been a supervisor in the Office for seventeen years. He was promoted to Senior Litigation
Counsel in March 1995, and nine months later was made an Acting Assistant Director. He was
made a permanent Assistant Director in June 1996, and was promoted to Deputy Director in
December 1999. Mr. McConnell has represented the government in numerous immigration cases
in both federal district courts and the courts of appeals, and he has argued cases in the First,
Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. He was
recognized with a Civil Division Special Commendation Award in February 1998, an Inter-
Agency Cooperation Award from the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration
Review in 2002, and in August 2005 he received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in
Management. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2006.
BROAD OUTLINE OF THE COURSE
b. Immigration law sources
2. ADMISSION OF NONCITIZENS
a. Sources of the Federal Power Over Immigration
b. Whom Shall We Welcome? The Selection System
i. Immigrant Categories
ii. Non-immigrant Categories
c. The Admission Procedures - Applying for a visa
i. Consular Determinations
iii. Adjustment of Status
d. Visa Procedures
3. IMMIGRATION CONTROLS & ENFORCEMENT
a. Qualitative Controls
b. Constitutional Limitations On the Government’s Power
c. Removal Procedures
d. Relief from Removal
e. Immigration Detention
f. National Security Issues
4. ASYLUM AND REFUGEES
a. Refugees, Asylum & Withholding of Deportation
iii. Definition of Persecution
b. Protected Grounds
c. The Convention Against Torture
5. ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT
a. Administrative Review
b. Judicial Review
Class 1 Introduction to Immigration Law
Introduction to Course; A Brief History of Immigration to the United States
Read Padilla v. Kentucky, pp. 683-93, and Arizona v. United States, 2012 WL 2368661
(U.S., June 25, 2012).
Class 2 Federal Agencies and Courts
Read pp. 238-49; 253-71.
Class 3 The Federal Immigration Power (I): Exclusion and Deportation
Read pp. 162-201.
Read the “Morton Memos” (to be provided), including pp. 778-88.
Class 4 The Federal Immigration Power (II): Admissions
Read pp. 530-65.
Class 5 Legal Immigration – Immigrants (I)
Read pp. 272-84; 288-316.
Review State Department Current Visa Bulletin, available at
Class 6 Legal Immigration – Immigrants (II)
Read pp. 320-42.
Distribute instructions for extra-credit assignment: Immigration Observation Paper.
Class 7 Non-Immigrants
Read pp. 382-408; 421-35.
Class 8 Admissions – Modern Procedures
Read pp. 498-506; 511-21; 565-81.
Class 9 Inadmissibility (I)
Read pp. 582-94.
Class 10 Inadmissibility (II)
Read pp. 594-605.
Class 11 Immigration and National Security
Read pp. 522-28; 614-47; 895-97; 1020-25; 1173-87
Class 12 Deportability (I)
Read pp. 648-79.
Class 13 Deportability (II) – Immigration Crimes
Read pp. 693-750
Class 14 Mid-Semester Review
No additional reading for tonight!
Class 15 Relief from Removal
Read pp. 750-775; 788-96.
Class 16 The Removal Process (I)
Read pp. 1147-73.
Class 17 The Removal Process (II)
Read pp. 1187-1216.
Class 18 Immigration Detention
Read pp. 1216-70
Class 19 Mock Immigration Hearing
Read hand-out entitled “A Simulated Removal Hearing” to prepare for class. For the simulated
removal hearing, two teams of volunteers will be assigned a few weeks before the exercise; one
will represent the non-citizen respondent, the other team will represent the government. All other
students should be prepared to discuss strategies and questions following the hearing.
Class 20 Refugees and Asylum – Part 1: Introduction
Read pp. 797-825.
Class 21 Refugees and Asylum – Part 2: Persecution
Read pp. 825-49.
Class 22 Refugees and Asylum – Part 3: Protected Grounds
Read pp. 849-72.
Class 23 Refugees and Asylum – Part 4: Limitations, and CAT
Read pp. 888-919.
Class 24 Refugees and Asylum -- Conclusion
Panel: Hot Topics in Asylum Law
Read pp. 873-888.
Class 25 Citizenship and Naturalization
Read pp. 37-62; 114-33.
Class 26 Judicial Review
Read pp. 1271-1313.
Class 27 Current Issues in Immigration Law
Read pp. 1103-46.
Class 28 Semester Review and Conclusion