Symposium To Explore Refugee Crisis, Immigration

Keynote To Address Role of Private-Sector Lawyers in Immigration Law
Immigration and Ideology: International Responses to Migration
February 13, 2018

The University of Virginia School of Law will host a symposium Feb. 20 that will feature timely discussion in the current battles over immigration, including a keynote from a law firm attorney on the frontlines.

The annual International Law Symposium, titled “Immigration and Ideology: International Responses to Migration,” will start at noon in Caplin Pavilion. Hosted by the Virginia Journal of International Law and the John Bassett Moore Society of International Law, the event is co-sponsored by the school’s Immigration Law Program.

“In the past few years, VJIL’s symposium themes have all centered on economic or financial issues around the globe,” VJIL Editor-in-Chief Chiara Tondi Resta said. “So, this year we wanted to switch gears and touch on some of the social issues going on right now. As the world has gotten smaller and more interconnected than ever before, immigration has become an increasingly important issue for nations and communities around the world to grapple with.”

Featured speaker Colleen E. Roh Sinzdak, an attorney with Hogan Lovells, has briefed, argued and won cases before multiple courts of appeals. She was recently named an American Lawyer Litigator of the Week after successfully convincing a federal district court to issue a temporary restraining order against the president's executive order regarding immigration and refugees.

Sinzdak also practices before the U.S. Supreme Court, where she served as a law clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts from 2011-12.

The symposium will provide a broad overview of the causes of immigration in different regions of the world, explore ongoing government responses to the movement of refugees and discuss the current state of U.S. immigration policy.

“Scholars, students and members of the wider UVA Law community will wrestle with the complex legal, policy and ethical questions posed by modern-day migration,” J.B. Moore President Michael Woolslayer said.

Lunch will be provided, and a reception will be held following the event.

Professor Emeritus David Martin, former principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security and former general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, will deliver opening remarks.


Tuesday, Feb. 20

Caplin Pavilion


Opening Remarks

Professor David Martin, Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Law

12:20 p.m.

Lunch provided by Mezeh

12:30-1:45 p.m.

Panel 1: Catalysts: Global Causes and Motivations for Migration

The first panel will provide a broad overview of regional conditions that cause immigrants to leave their homes, and aim to produce a robust conversation on the common and differing catalysts of immigration in the Middle East, Africa and South America.

  • Moderator: Mila Versteeg, Class of 1941 Research Professor of Law; Director, Human Rights Program, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Niki Dasarathy, Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa Division, ABA Rule of Law Initiative
  • Kevin Cope, Research Assistant Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law 
  • Charanya Krishnaswami, Refugee Status Determination Associate, Caribbean Protection Unit, UNHCR

2-3:15 p.m.

Panel 2: International Responses and Solutions to the Global Refugee Crises

The second panel explores possible international responses and solutions to the global refugee crisis, with the New York Declaration for Human Rights and the U.N. Global Compact on Refugees serving as starting points for the discussion.

  • Moderator: David Leblang, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, Director of the Global Policy Center, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia
  • Jessica Anderson, Adjunct Professor, Institute for the Study of International Migration, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Marisa Ensor, Adjunct Professor, Justice and Peace Studies Program, Georgetown University
  • Bernhard Streitwieser, Assistant Professor of International Education, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University

3:30-4:45 p.m.

Panel 3: Immigration and the United States: An Uncertain Future

The final panel explores the current state of immigration law in the United States, including detention, deportation and travel restrictions. Panelists will discuss the impact of the media on the public perception of immigrants and the future of American immigration policy.

  • Moderator: Deena Sharuk, Immigration Attorney, Legal Aid Justice Center; Supervisor, Immigration Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Tanishka Cruz, Managing Attorney, Cruz Law; Supervisor, Immigration Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Harriet Kuhr, Director, Charlottesville Office, International Rescue Committee 
  • Edward Summers, Attorney, Law Office of Edward Summers, PLLC
  • Lieselot Whitbeck, Attorney, Erickson Immigration Group

5-5:45 p.m.

Keynote Address

Big Law, Big Impact: The Role of Private Sector Lawyers in Immigration Law

  • Colleen E. Roh Sinzdak, Senior Litigation Associate, Hogan Lovells

6-7:30 p.m.


Guests in the public and private sectors working in immigration law will join the reception.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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