Immigration Speaker Series

Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program

Watch all the videos from the 2020-21 speakers

Racism in U.S. Immigration Law and Policy

Feb. 12, 2021














Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar; and Clinical Professor of Law at Penn State Law. Her research focuses on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and the intersections of race, national security, and immigration. She has published two books: Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases and Banned: Immigration Enforcement in the Time of Trump, is a co-author of one of the most widely used textbooks on immigration law in the country, regularly publishes opinion pieces in major news publications and blogs, and has co-authored briefs challenging the asylum ban, the travel ban, and other policies and rules impacting immigrants. At Penn State, Professor Wadhia teaches a course on immigration law and one on asylum and refugee law while also directing the award-winning Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. Students in the Clinic engage in community outreach; legal support in individual cases; and policy work for institutional clients. ​

Studying the Undocumented State: How TRAC Tells the Inside Story of Immigration Enforcement

March 12, 2021














Drs. Austin Kocher and Susan B. Long, Syracuse University, TRAC

Dr. Austin Kocher is a Research Assistant Professor with the Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research institute that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to study the federal government. Key areas of Kocher’s current research at TRAC include federal immigration detention, enforcement, and deportation, the immigration court system, and trends within the federal criminal and civil courts. Kocher’s research interests focus on the political and legal geographies of immigration enforcement, policing, and the immigration court system. His ongoing work interrogates the legal rationalities and everyday practices of producing “illegalized” immigrants through the US immigration court system, and he examines how the immigration courts link up with local immigration enforcement on the ground. His work also examines the strategies and impact of grassroots immigrant rights and worker rights movements that contest deportation as a tool of social and labor control.

Dr. Susan B. Long is an associate professor of managerial statistics at Syracuse University in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and co-founder and co-director of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). During the eighties she served as the Director of the Center for Tax Studies at Syracuse University. In 1989, with David Burnham, she founded TRAC. She also has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Engineering Information, City University of London. Over the years she has been frequently asked to testify before Congress and related commissions on her research findings concerning various government programs, including the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service. Long also has spent her professional career in the trenches using the Freedom of Information Act to provide public access to electronic records and administrative database systems to assess the performance of government. Her active work on freedom of information matters began in 1970 when she and her husband, the late Phil Long, began a decade long FOIA effort to reform long entrenched secrecy practices at the Internal Revenue Service. In 2006, Long was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. She was also the recipient in 2006 of the Kharas Award for Distinguished Service in Civil Liberties and is the 2012 Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award recipient.

The Fight for Humane Immigration Policies: What We've Learned Working for Sanctuary

April 12, 2021 














Zaira Emiliana Livier, Executive Director, People's Defense Initiative

Zaira Emiliana Livier is a Mexican-born human rights activist, writer, storyteller, and abolitionist. Currently, Zaira serves as executive director for People’s Defense Initiative (PDI), a grassroots anti-capitalist organization that she co-founded in 2018 as a community defense front against repressive policies and structures. In line with their “Sanctuary for All” mission, the PDI collective has led campaigns and programs such as the Tucson Sanctuary initiative, Feeding Those Who Feed Us, and the Tucson Tenants Union. Zaira organized with LUPE Tucson and Jobs with Justice along the intersection of migrant rights and labor.