CILP’s Ahilan Arulanantham, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Broach Child Deportations, Immigrant Representation, Temporary Protected Status and More

The keynote at the Fordham Law Review conference on immigrant representation touched on several important issues in contemporary immigration policy.

March 15, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA – Ahilan Arulanantham, Professor from Practice and Faculty Co-Director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law, interviewed Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Thursday, March 9 at Fordham University Law School. 

The conversation was the keynote event at “Looking Back and Looking Forward: Fifteen Years of Advancing Immigration Representation,” a conference hosted by the Fordham University Law Review in honor of Robert A. Katzmann, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge Katzmann was a visionary jurist and leader who worked to improve immigrants’ access to representation in the immigration courts through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project.

“During the Biden Administration’s last two years, a number of developments changed the immigration policy landscape dramatically. We appreciate Secretary Mayorkas’ willingness to discuss the most pressing immigration issues of our day in as candid a manner as possible,” Arulanantham said. “Transparency in government of this kind is crucial.” 

Over the lively, hour-long conversation, Mayorkas and Arulanantham discussed various issues, including the large numbers of unrepresented children who have been ordered deported without a hearing or access to a lawyer under the Biden Administration; the broad success - and new challenges - of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project in assuring representation for detained adults facing deportation in New York; a controversial proposal that the Biden Administration restrict asylum access for people who have transited  through other countries, and the Administration’s possible interest in restarting the use of family detention camps. 

Among many other notable comments, Secretary Mayorkas said: “DHS is a large department. It is more than 260,000 people…We define ourselves by our policies. We define ourselves by the values that underlie those policies and by individuals’ adherence to those policies with rigor, the manner in which we address a failure to adhere to those policies predominantly, or especially if, that failure is actually a failure of intent as opposed to a failure of accident.”

Over the next week, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy will post more clips from the interview and provide context in order to advance adherence to policy, as the Secretary described. 

The discussion between Secretary Mayorkas and Professor Arulanantham was a continuation of their first talk in April 2021 and a part of UCLA CILP’s continued efforts to advance government transparency and accountability in federal immigration policy. 

Find the full interview here

Founded in 2020, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law expands the law school's role as a national leader in immigration law and policy, generating innovative ideas at the intersection of immigration scholarship and practice and serving as a hub for transforming those ideas into meaningful changes in immigration policy. 

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