Yale University: The President and Immigration Law

Immigrants at Ellis Island

Center for the Study of Representative Institutions: “The President and Immigration Law”


On February 4, 2021, the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions at Yale University, a JMC partner program, will be hosting a panel on immigration law and presidential power with Cristina Rodríguez, Adam Cox, Adam Goodman, and JMC faculty partner Rogers Smith.

In their powerful new book, leading immigration law scholars Professors Cristina Rodríguez (Yale) and Adam Cox (NYU) interrogate the long history of presidential power in the realm of immigration policy to demonstrate how and why the executive branch assumed increasingly expansive discretionary powers and implemented them in the domain of immigration law. Their in-depth study dives into a range of diplomatic controversies over, institutional histories of, and case law about immigration policy and presidential power in immigration law from the revolutionary era to the present. Rodríguez and Cox contend that grappling with the reasons why and processes by which the president has become the “policymaker-in-chief” in matters of immigration law will empower lawmakers, scholars, and advocates to identify areas requiring and means to reform U.S. immigration policy and policymaking. At our event the authors will introduce and discuss their book’s interventions in conversation with two distinguished interdisciplinary scholars of U.S. immigration legal and political history: Professors Rogers Smith (Penn) and Adam Goodman (UIC). The panel will then open to a general Q&A.

Thursday, February 4, 2021 • 2:00 PM EST
A virtual event • Yale University

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Cristina Rodríguez is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her research interests include constitutional law and theory; immigration law and policy; administrative law and process; language rights and policy; and citizenship theory. In recent years, her work has focused on constitutional structures and institutional design. She has used immigration law and related areas as vehicles through which to explore how the allocation of power (through federalism, the separation of powers, and the structure of the bureaucracy) shapes the management and resolution of legal and political conflict. Her work also has examined the effects of immigration on society and culture, as well as the legal and political strategies societies adopt to absorb immigrant populations. Her new book, The President and Immigration Law (Oxford University Press, September 2020), coauthored with Adam Cox, explores the long history of presidential control over immigration policy and its implications for the future of immigration law and the presidency itself.

Learn more about Cristina Rodríguez >>



Adam Cox is the Robert A. Kindler Professor of Law at New York University, is a leading expert on immigration law, voting rights, and constitutional law. His writing has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, and many other scholarly publications, and has been covered by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and others. He is currently writing a book about the President’s power to shape immigration law.

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Rogers Smith is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He centers his research on constitutional law, American political thought, and modern legal and political theory, with special interests in questions of citizenship, race, ethnicity and gender. He was elected as an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow in 2004, a Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2011, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2016. Professor Smith was also voted President-Elect of the American Political Science Association for 2017-2018, and served as President of the American Political Science Association from 2018-2019.

Professor Smith is a JMC faculty partner.

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Adam Goodman is an Assistant Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program and in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research and teaching interests include migration history and policy; Mexican American and Latina/o history; border and borderlands history; and recent U.S., Mexican, and Central American history. Goodman has written articles, essays, and reviews that have appeared in academic venues like the Journal of American History and the Journal of American Ethnic History, and in popular outlets such as The Nation and the Washington Post. He has received support for his work from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright Program, and Immigration and Ethnic History Society, among others. In 2017, Goodman helped organize the #ImmigrationSyllabus project. He co-organizes the Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar at the Newberry Library and the Global Migration Working Group at UIC, where he also serves as a faculty advisor to the Fearless Undocumented Alliance.

Learn more about Adam Goodman >>



The Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions (YCRI) at Yale University is an interdisciplinary pilot program, established for the purpose of developing the study of the theory and practice of representative government in the Anglo-American tradition. It is hosted by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

Click here to learn more about the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions >>



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