"Teaching Immigration Law in the Age of Trump"

January 09, 2017

Prof. Michael Kagan, director of the UNLV Immigration Clinic, published an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education about his fears that teaching immigration law will be fare more difficult after the rise of President Donald Trump. In the essay, Prof. Kagan writes:

In Las Vegas, I teach immigration law at the literal frontline of America’s immigration wars. ... I know that many of my colleagues in academe try to achieve the appearance of neutrality when they teach controversial subjects by hiding their personal opinions. I don’t try to do that. I wonder if aiming for neutrality in the classroom would be intellectually honest. I teach immigration because I am passionate about it, and I spend most of my working day thinking about it. It would be strange if I did not have strong views, especially now. ... But while I do not pretend to be neutral, it is my job to encourage open debate in class. Yet, integral to this approach is a sense of boundaries distinguishing reasonable debate from base prejudices and disrespect. ... I still think bigotry is bigotry, and I do not believe that these boundaries are subject to change by the president. But I can also see that the election of Donald Trump has made these boundaries far more contestable, and far more contested, than they once were.