Oct. 16, 2007

Immigrants, Vigilantes, and Immigration Reform:
Civil Rights in the 21st Century

As North Texas cities like Irving and Farmers Branch remain under national scrutiny for controversial local programs to curtail illegal immigration, SMU’s Dedman School of Law is sponsoring a symposium examining immigration law and policy against the backdrop of civil rights in the 21st Century.

Satellite map showing the Rio Grande River flowing between Nuevo Laredo (left) and Laredo on the Mexico-Texas border.

The symposium, titled Immigrants, Vigilantes, and Immigration Reform: Civil Rights in the 21st Century, will be held Friday in the SMU Law School and will feature professors knowledgeable in immigration law from across the country. Reservations are required to attend the symposium. Those interested should contact Rebekah Bell at 214-768-4177 or

“Immigration policy and reform has become one of the most pressing issues of our time,” said symposium organizer and Dedman School of Law Prof. George Martinez.

Martinez said the symposium will deal with calls for restricting immigration in response to an alleged threat to American national identity, increased border law enforcement and associated crossing deaths and vigilante activity. Special immigration laws and legal procedures enacted for the war on terror and mass marches protesting immigration reform in cities across the United States, including Dallas, will also be discussed.

Martinez spoke to KERA radio recently about the immigration debate in Irving: “We need to have some uniform federal position on what these local entities can do. We need an answer from the Supreme Court.”


8:30 a.m. Registration and breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. SESSION 1

Opening the Floodgates: Why America Needs to Rethink its Borders and Immigration Laws
Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, University of California at Davis

Immigration & Civil Rights
Professor Teresa A. Miller, Professor of Law, The State University of New York, Buffalo

Professor George A. Martinez, Symposium Organizer; Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. SESSION 2

Lawmakers Gone Wild? A Response to Prof. Kobach
Professor Michael A. Olivas, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law, University of Houston Law Center

Immigrants, Markets and Rights: The United States as an Emerging Migration State
Professor James F. Hollifield, Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, Southern Methodist University, and 
Professor Valerie F. Hunt, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University

Professor Karen L. Engle, Cecil D. Redford Professor of Law and Director of Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas at Austin

1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. SESSION 3

The Disadvantages of Protectionist Immigration Restrictions as a Policy to Improve Income Redistribution
Professor Howard F. Chang, Earle Hepburn Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania

Providing Sanctuary For Immigrants
Professor Rose C. Villazor, Assistant Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

Professor Nathan Cortez, Assistant Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

Related Links

Media Contact:
Kim Cobb
Tele. 214-768-7654


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