David A. Martin, Warner Booker Professor Emeritus of International Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, delivered the 64th Annual Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture at the College of Law on Thursday, November 21 at 5:30 pm the ceremonial courtroom.
A faculty committee led by Paul Lombardo, a law professor in Georgia, USA, selects speakers based on key areas of interest in the legal profession. Martin’s area of expertise is of particular interest to the College of Law, which will open an immigration clinic in January.
“We wanted Professor Martin to be this year’s Miller Lecturer because he is known internationally as a leading scholar on immigration law,” said Lombardo, Professor Bobby Lee Cook, Professor of Law at Georgia State. “It can shed light on the seemingly insoluble and repeatedly challenging issues that arise from the migration of people across national borders at a time in our country’s history when these issues are at the center of both heated political debates and public activism. “
Martin joined the Virginia School of Law in 1980 after serving as special assistant to the assistant secretary in the State Department’s Human Rights Office in Washington, DC. He was also Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security from January 2009 to December 2010 and General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1995 to 1998. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal.
Martin’s lecture was titled “Taming Immigration”, in which the history of immigration to the United States was discussed, current issues and obstacles were reflected upon, and suggestions for a further path were made.
He started with an overview of current migration issues and failed attempts to tame migration by focusing on Syrian refugees who migrated to Greece and Germany, as well as Central Americans who came to the US. He said the backlash against this unwieldy migration has created a strong nationalism that threatens the future of democracy in the western world. He noted that most Americans have a welcoming impulse, but also feel the need for proper control. Politics must strike a better balance.
His proposal for a solution to the US crisis includes: a one-off legalization of those who have long been around and have no record of violent crimes; resolute enforcement against new violations; Consequences for visa violators; and asylum reform. Martin believes that the full composition of the immigration courts must play a critical role in this process.
“Legalization frees the courts and border guards to do their jobs more efficiently,” he said. “We need fully funded immigration courts because there are 1.1 million lagged cases. Budget cuts and long delays undermine all other areas of the immigration enforcement agenda. “
Martin concluded that the ability to give more refugees and asylum seekers access to lawyers and open the courts can lead to less polarization of immigration.
The Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture Series is sponsored by the Charles Loridans Foundation Inc. and named after the late Henry J. Miller, who has been a partner in the Alston & Bird law firm for more than 50 years. The lecture takes place every autumn and spring.