Hiroshi Motomura

Susan Westerberg Prager Distinguished Professor of Law
Faculty Co-Director, Center for Immigration Law and Policy

  • B.A. Yale, 1974
  • J.D. UC Berkeley, 1978
  • UCLA Faculty Since 2007

Hiroshi Motomura is a teacher and scholar of immigration and citizenship, with influence across a range of academic disciplines and in federal, state, and local policymaking. His book, Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States (Oxford 2006) won the Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PROSE) Award from the Association of American Publishers as the year’s best book in Law and Legal Studies, and was chosen by the U.S. Department of State for its Suggested Reading List for Foreign Service Officers. He is a co-author of two immigration-related casebooks: Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy (9th ed. West 2021), and Forced Migration: Law and Policy (2d ed. West 2013), and he has published many widely cited articles on immigration and citizenship. His most recent book, Immigration Outside the Law (Oxford 2014), won the Association of American Publishers' Law and Legal Studies 2015 PROSE Award and was chosen by the Association of College and Research Libraries as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Professor Motomura has testified in the U.S. Congress, has served as co-counsel or a volunteer consultant in many litigated cases and policy matters, and has been a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. In the fall of 2008, he was an outside advisor to the Obama-Biden Transition Team's Working Group on Immigration Policy. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Law Center from 2011 through 2020, and he is one of the co-founders and current directors of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN).

Before joining the permanent faculty of UCLA Law in 2008, Professor Motomura was Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and before that Nicholas Doman Professor of International Law at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has been a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, the University of Michigan Law School, and UCLA, and a guest researcher at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin. He was the first Lloyd Cutler Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and has served on the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina Press. Professor Motomura is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the International Migration Review.

In 1997, Professor Motomura was named President's Teaching Scholar, which is the highest teaching distinction at the University of Colorado, and he has won several other teaching awards, including the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the 2013 Chris Kando Iijima Teacher and Mentor Award from the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty (CAPALF). He was one of just 26 law professors nationwide profiled in What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard 2013), and he received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014 and the law school's Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence in 2021. He teaches Immigration Law, Immigrants’ Rights, and the Immigrants' Rights Policy Clinic, and he is the Faculty Co-Director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law.

Professor Motomura was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018 to work on a book, Borders and Belonging: Can Immigration Policy Be Ethical?, now under contract with Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2024). A preliminary partial version of the project was published as The New Migration Law in the 2020 Cornell Law Review. For his collaboration on an overview of U.S. immigration law in a completely different medium, see The Try Guys Try Immigrating to America.


  • Books
    • Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy (with T.A. Aleinikoff, D. Martin, M. Fullerton, J. Stumpf, & P. Gulasekaram). 9th ed. West (2021). With Teacher's Manual.
    • Immigration Outside the Law. Oxford University Press (2014). Paperback edition: 2017. Abstract
    • Forced Migration: Law and Policy (with D. Martin, T.A. Aleinikoff, & M. Fullerton). 2d ed. West (2013). With Teachers Manual.
    • Americans In Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States. Oxford University Press (2006). Paperback edition: 2007. Abstract
    • Immigration Controls: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States (edited by Kay Hailbronner, David A. Martin and Hiroshi Motomura). Berghahn Press (1998).
    • Immigration Admissions: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States (edited by Kay Hailbronner, David A. Martin and Hiroshi Motomura). Berghahn Press (1997).
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Becoming a Law Teacher: Three Stories, 69 UCLA Law Review Discourse 172 (2022). Full Text
    • Making Immigration Law, 134 Harvard Law Review 2794 (2021). Review of The President and Immigration Law, by Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez. Full Text
    • The New Migration Law: Migrants, Refugees, and Citizens in an Anxious Age, 105 Cornell Law Review 457 (2020). Full Text
    • Arguing About Sanctuary, 52 UC Davis Law Review 435 (2018). Full Text
    • The President’s Dilemma: Executive Authority, Enforcement, and the Rule of Law in Immigration Law, 55 Washburn Law Journal 1 (2015). Full Text
    • Children and Parents, Innocence and Guilt, 128 Harvard Law Review Forum 137 (2015). Full Text
    • Designing Temporary Worker Programs, 80 University of Chicago Law Review 263-88 (2013). Full Text
    • Making Legal: The Dream Act, Birthright Citizenship, and Broad-Scale Legalization​, 16 Lewis & Clark Law Review 1127-48 (2012). Full Text
    • Who Belongs?: Immigration Outside the Law and the Idea of Americans in Waiting, 2 UC Irvine Law Review 359-79 (2012). Full Text
    • The Discretion That Matters: Federal Immigration Enforcement, State and Local Arrests, and the Civil-Criminal Line, 58 UCLA Law Review 1819-58 (2011). Full Text
    • What Is "Comprehensive Immigration Reform"?: Taking the Long View, 63 Arkansas Law Review 225-41 (2010). Full Text
    • The Rights of Others: Legal Claims and Immigration Outside the Law, 59 Duke Law Journal 1723-86 (2010). Full Text
    • Immigration Outside the Law, 108 Columbia Law Review 2037 (2008). Full Text
    • The Rule of Law in Immigration Law, 15 Tulsa Journal of Comparative and International Law 139 (2008).
    • Choosing Immigrants, Making Citizens, 59 Stanford Law Review 857 (2007). Full Text
    • We Asked for Workers, But Families Came: Time, Law, and the Family in Immigration and Citizenship, 14 Virginia Journal of Social Policy & Law 103 (2006). Full Text
    • Immigration Law and Federal Court Jurisdiction Through the Lens of Habeas Corpus, 91 Cornell Law Review 459 (2006). Full Text
    • Brown v. Board of Education, Immigrants, and the Meaning of Equality, 49 New York Law School Law Review 1145 (2004).
    • Immigration and "We the People" After September 11, 66 Albany Law Review 413 (2003).
    • Judicial Review in Immigration Cases After AADC: Lessons From Civil Procedure, 14 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 385 (2000). Full Text
    • The Year Is 2020: Looking Back on the Elian Gonzalez Case (A Fantasy), 77 Interpreter Releases 853 (2000).
    • Family Reunification in United States Immigration Law and Policy: The Limits of Congressional Power, in Einwanderungskontrolle Und Menschenrechte, 83 (edited by edited by K. Hailbronner & E. Klein, C.F. Müller Verlag, 1999).
    • Federalism, International Human Rights, and Immigration Exceptionalism, 70 University of Colorado Law Review 1361 (1999). Full Text
    • Alienage Classifications in a Nation of Immigrants: Three Models of Permanent Residence, in Immigration and Citizenship in the 21st Century, 191 (edited by N. Pikus, Rowman & Littlefield, 1998).
    • Whose Immigration Law?: Citizens, Aliens, and the Constitution, 97 Columbia Law Review 1567 (1997). Review essay.
    • Whose Alien Nation?: Two Models of Constitutional Immigration Law, 94 Michigan Law Review 1927 (1996). Review essay.
    • Giving Due Deference to Due Deference: Or, Do Courts of Appeals Always Follow the BIA? (with N. Wettstein), in Vol. 2 1996-97 Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook, 408 (edited by P. Murphy, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 1996).
    • The Family and Immigration: A Roadmap for the Ruritanian Lawmaker, 43 American Journal of Comparative Law 511 (1995).
    • Immigration and Alienage, Federalism and Proposition 187, 3 Virginia Journal of International Law 201 (1994).
    • Haitian Asylum Seekers: Interdiction and Immigrants' Rights, 26 Cornell International Law Journal 695 (1993).
    • The Curious Evolution of Immigration Law: Procedural Surrogates for Substantive Constitutional Rights, 92 Columbia Law Review 1625 (1992).
    • Immigration Law After a Century of Plenary Power: Phantom Constitutional Norms and Statutory Interpretation, 100 Yale Law Journal 545 (1990).
    • Arbitration and Collateral Estoppel: Using Preclusion to Shape Procedural Choices, 63 Tulane Law Review 29 (1988).
    • Using Judgments as Evidence, 70 Minnesota Law Review 979 (1986).
    • Preclearance Under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, 61 North Carolina Law Review 189 (1983).
    • Protecting Outside Shareholders in a Corporate Subsidiary: A Comparative Look at the Private and Judicial Roles in the United States and Germany, 1980 Wisconsin Law Review 61 (1980).
    • Haftungsprinzip, Haftungsbefreiung und Vertragsbeendigung beim internationalen Kauf (with Hans-Joachim Bartels), 43 Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 649 (1979).
    • Employees and Independent Contractors Under the National Labor Relations Act, 2 Industrial Relations Law Journal 278 (1977).