April 20, 2021 - Re-conceptualizing the field of immigration law and addressing its systemic problems were among the topics discussed in a presentation by Clinical Professor Geoffrey Hoffman in a presentation entitled, “What Should Immigration Law Become?". Hoffman, Director of the Law Center's Immigration Clinic, served as the keynote speaker at the Houston Journal of International Law’s annual Skelton Lecture Series that was held virtually on April 1.
Throughout his talk Hoffman discussed major barriers to immigration equality and the need for a holistic approach when re-thinking the complexities of immigration law practice.
“We can prioritize humanitarian concerns,” he said. “We can say this is a process that should be about protecting people and making sure their equities are taken into account.”
Hoffman went on to provide examples of ways in which the immigration system can move toward this goal, including increasing discretion provided to Immigration Judges, re-implementing formerly used waivers, and bringing back various forms of relief such as Judicial Recommendation Against Deportation and suspension of deportation.
He also suggested new forms of relief such as a “universal waiver” and a multi-track solution to increase the efficiency and ease the backlog in Immigration Courts.
“We want to help the most people in the most efficient way possible, and right now we have a backlog of 1.5 million people,” Hoffman said. “Hiring more immigration judges isn’t the way to attack it. You need to attack it structurally and through new policies.”