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June Spotlight: Immigrant Heritage Month

As the acclaimed musical Hamilton reflects, the immigrant experience has been foundational to the establishment and flourishing of the United States. It is for this reason that June has been declared Immigrant Heritage Month since 2014. As professor Jennifer Koh says, “celebrating our immigrant heritage is valuable and appropriate in a country like the United States.”

As both a complex area of law and experience that varies from person to person, the celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month asks us to both reflect on the ideals of this nation that draw people from around the world and the ways that we create and engage with one another. For Professor Koh, being a noted immigration scholar and attorney during this month comes also with lament: “In understanding America as a nation of immigrants, there is room for lament as well—for how forced migration was fundamental to building our country, for how xenophobic impulses have manifested themselves in immigration law, and how we grapple with the topic with immigration today.” 

Immigration law, and immigrants, span practice areas and types, having overlap with entertainment law, business law, criminal law, and family law, among others. It is a rich area for students and our community to engage, and there are varied opportunities within it for all of our students to consider. They are complex and challenging but also deeply rewarding, for as Professor Koh says, this is an area that brings the opportunity for all of us to  “think deeply and critically about what kind of country we want to be.”

Ultimately, Professor Koh has found it to be “a privilege and joy to teach and research in the area of immigration law, which offers a seemingly endless array of puzzles, problems and challenges for the present and the future.”