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UCACNYC Panel Discussion: Immigration and America
Is America fundamentally and eternally defined as an immigrant nation?

Please join us as a historian, two law professors, an immigration lawyer and business professor make their thoughts known on this and other questions.

Registration Cost: $15 (See end of notice)

Register via this link

The 2016 Presidential election and global events have set the stage for the nation to address (or confront) the subject of immigration. The current actions by the Trump administration as well as recent and expected court rulings will change the legal framework but the practical and societal impacts are not easy to predict.

In partnership with 
New York Law School, a diverse panel of speakers will examine and discuss:

  • What is the Constitutional status of immigrants? Does the physical location of the person change the rights calculus? How are refugees or asylum seekers given greater protections than immigrants seeking economic opportunity or family reunification? 
  • Does immigration, lawful and irregular, create a net benefit to the general welfare of the United States? 
  • In a time when Congress has not reformed legal immigration and the Executive is expanding enforcement, what is the role of the judicial branch? 
  • What is the appropriate role for state and local participation in immigration enforcement?


(Moderator) Morris Vogel (AM '68, PhD '74) just retired as president of New York’s Tenement Museum, which tells the story of how people from many nations became Americans—and how Americans became a people. He capped his nine-year career there by opening a new exhibit bringing the story of immigration up to the present day by interpreting narratives of Latino, Chinese, and refugee families. Vogel earned his Ph.D. in history at Chicago in 1974 and served on the faculty of Temple University for more than 30 years, publishing six books in American social and cultural history. Vogel and his parents entered the United States as stateless persons under the Refugee Act of 1948.

Professor Lenni B. Benson is a professor at New York Law School and serves as the director of the NYLS Safe Passage Project, which recruits, trains and mentors lawyers and student volunteers who are willing to represent immigrant youth and has won state and national awards for its promotion and support of pro bono work. She also teaches a clinic of advanced students who join other Safe Passage volunteers to screen immigrant youth at the New York Immigration Court each week. She is a national and international speaker on immigration topics.  From 2012 to 2015 she was the Chair of the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In 2011-2012 she served as a consultant/researcher for the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). She is the past chair of the AALS Immigration Law Section and past immigration committee chair for the ABA Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. Prior to joining academia, she practiced immigration law as a partner in the Los Angeles office of Bryan Cave, LLP. She is a native Arizonan and earned her law degree at the Arizona State College of Law in 1983.  Professor Benson is an emeritus trustee of the American Immigration Law Foundation (now the American Immigration Council) and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. In June of 2013 she published: “Immigration and Nationality Law: Problems and Strategies.” (Coauthors include Veronica Jeffers, Lindsay Curcio and Stephen Yale-Loehr). 

Professor Bernard E. Harcourt is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University, Professor of Political Science, and the founding director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought; he is also directeur d’études (chaired professor) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Prior to Columbia, Harcourt was the the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Harcourt is the author of the forthcoming book, The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens (forthcoming 2018), and, most recently of Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age and The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order.  He began represented inmates sentenced to death in Alabama in 1990 and continues that work on a pro bono basis today on cases challenging the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole. Harcourt has also recently represented Dr. Amer Al Homssi in his challenge to the Muslim Ban, reported in The New Yorker here.

Greg Siskind (JD '90) is a founding partner of Siskind Susser, PC – Immigration Lawyers and has been practicing law since 1990. Greg began practicing law when he was 22 after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his law degree from the University of Chicago. Greg is the author of several books including the annually published J-1 Visa Guidebook, the American Bar Association’s Lawyers Guide to Marketing on the Internet and the recently published SHRM’s Employer’s Immigration Compliance Desk Reference. He is also the author of a number of immigration-related pieces of legislation and has testified as an expert in front of the US House of Representatives Immigration Subcommittee. He was recently named by Who’s Who in Corporate Immigration Law on its list of the ten most distinguished lawyers in the world and by Chambers and Partners as one of the top 25 immigration lawyers in the US. He is one of the founders of Visalaw International, the global alliance of immigration lawyers ( He currently serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Video Presentation by Professor Tarek Alexander Hassan who joins Boston University as an Associate Professor of Economics after teaching finance at the University of Chicago and earning his PhD in economics from Harvard University. Professor Hassan’s research focuses on international finance and social factors in economic growth and macro-finance. His work in international finance focuses on large and persistent differences in interest rates across countries and the effect of exchange rate manipulation on the allocation of capital across countries. Another set of papers studies the effect of social structure on economic growth and the effect of historical migration and ethnic diversity on foreign direct investment. Hassan’s work has appeared in the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Finance. His varied honors, scholarships, and fellowships include the Austrian Central Bank’s 2009 Klaus Liebscher Award, the 2013 Leo Melamed Prize for Outstanding Research in Finance, and the Kiel Institute’s 2013 Excellence Award in Global Economic affairs. With research experience at Harvard University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Mannheim, the breadth of Hassan’s experience also includes visiting positions at Princeton, Stanford University, the London School of Economics, and London Business School. Hassan is a research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Economic Policy Research. (bio forthcoming)

The registration cost includes a sandwich meal and beverage; if there are any dietary considerations, please contact us at

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Event Information
Wednesday, Sep 6 2017 at 6:00pm - 8:30pm [ iCal ]
New York Law School
185 W Broadway
Manhattan, NY 10013