Immigrants and rights of free speech, free exercise of religion topic of Georgia Law Review symposium March 18

“Immigrants and the First Amendment: Defining the Borders of Noncitizen Free Speech and Free Exercise Claims” is the title of this year’s annual day-long symposium of the Georgia Law Review, to be held Friday, March 18, in hybrid format at the University of Georgia School of Law. Featured will be a keynote by immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir, the plaintiff in a high-profile federal lawsuit alleging retaliation for activism.

Here’s the concept note:

“Immigration law, as well as immigrant activism, are intersecting with the First Amendment in new and surprising ways. This year’s Georgia Law Review Symposium will bring together a diverse set of voices to discuss these exciting new crossovers, providing a forum to explore the nuances of the First Amendment’s scope as applied to immigrants, immigrant advocates, and potential immigrants outside of the country. This is an area of law that is becoming increasingly more topical, and many questions that arise from these areas remain unanswered or ambiguous.”

Details and registration here for the conference, which will take place in-person in the Larry Walker Room on the 4th floor of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk Hall, and which also welcomes online attendees.

Following opening remarks at 9 a.m., panels will proceed as follows:

9:10-10:35 a.m., “Immigrant Speech and Government Retaliation”

“Despite being entitled to First Amendment rights, immigrants, particularly those without documentation, are highly vulnerable to government suppression of, or retaliation against, their exercise of free speech rights. Recent or ongoing cases in this area include Oldaker v. Giles in the Middle District of Georgia, which concerns first amendment claims brought on behalf of women alleging retaliation for medical abuse at an immigration detention center; and Ragbir v. Homan, which concerns the government’s retaliatory deportation of prominent immigrant rights activists.”

Speaking within that theme on this first panel of the morning will be: Alina Das, Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law; Charles H. Kuck, Managing Partner of Kuck Baxter LLC, an immigration law firm in Atlanta, and an Adjunct Professor at Emory University School of Law; Daniel I. Morales, Associate Professor of Law and George A. Butler Research Professor, University of Houston Law Center; and Clare R. Norins, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic at Georgia Law. Moderating will be Jason A. Cade, who is Associate Dean for Clinical Programs, Experiential Learning and J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, and Community Health Law Partnership Clinic Director at Georgia Law.

10:35 a.m.-12 noon, “Back to the Future: Immigrant Speech Rights Yesterday and Tomorrow”

“From John Lennon to Charlie Chaplin to many less famous immigrants, United States immigration history is riddled with deportation or exclusion decisions based on immigrants’ expression. Looking to the future, it is possible that constitutional free speech rights are best shored up by legislative and administrative solutions.”

Speaking within that theme on this last morning panel will be: Michael Kagan, Joyce Mack Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Jennifer Koh, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law at the Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California; Julia Rose Kraut, author of Threat of Dissent: A History of Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in the United States (Harvard University Press 2020); and Gregory P. Magarian, Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Moderating will be Jonathan Peters, Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, who also holds a courtesy appointment on the Georgia Law faculty.

1-2:20 p.m., “The First Amendment’s Limits Abroad After Trump v. Hawaii: Free Exercise, Executive Power, and Justiciability”

“Trump v. Hawaii is the most recent high-profile iteration of immigration actions allegedly taken on the basis of religion. In addition to exploring first amendment issues respecting the religion of potential migrants, this panel will also cover issues relating to the differences in executive power as it pertains to potential immigrants as opposed to immigrants already on U.S. soil, as well as the difficulties associated with immigrants vindicating asserted constitutional rights from abroad.”

Speaking within that theme on this afternoon panel will be: Christopher Lund, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan; Zachary Price, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law; and Shalini Bhargava Ray, Associate Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law. Moderating will be Nathan S. Chapman, Pope F. Brock Associate Professor in Professional Responsibility at Georgia Law.

2:20-3:15 p.m., “Keynote Address” by Ravi Ragbir, followed by a closing reception.