The theme of the 2002 Randolph W. Thrower Symposium was set prior
to last fall, but the unforeseen terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 made
its subject matter all the more appropriate.
An impressive roster of attorneys, law professors and legal scholars
took part in the morning-long symposium titled, Immigration
Law: Assessing New Immigration Enforcement Strategies and the Criminalization
of Migration, Feb. 21 in the School of Laws Tull Auditorium.
The event was cosponsored by the law school and the Emory Law
Its clear that after Sept. 11, this has become a topic
of extraordinary importance reaching far beyond those who study
criminal law, said Professor of Law Marc Miller, who served
The symposiums seven guest speakers addressed a wide variety
of concerns ranging from preventive detention and immigration to
the intersection between immigration law and criminal law, to a
proposal to streamline the criminal deportation process by assigning
judges the responsibility for both sentencing and immigration questions.
While the points of view were varied, the conclusions were identical:
reform is needed.
Doris Meissner, senior associate in the global policy program of
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and commissioner
of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 19932000,
was the keynote speaker.
In her address, Protecting Borders and Liberty in Post-9/11
Era, Meissner explained that the best way to achieve balance
between a populations freedom of movement and control for
security purposes is to focus on prevention.
That can be accomplished, she said, by improving communication
between the government and border communities as well as other sectors
such as the airline industry, and colleges and universities who
track international students.
Streamlining governmental offices is one step that could be taken,
she said. For instance, there is a call in some circles to make
drivers licenses standard throughout the country. This would ease
the sharing of information across borders, Meissner said, but also
might signify a step toward a national ID card, a proposal that
has been met with resistance, but not as much now as 20 years ago.
It may well be an idea whose time has come, Meissner
said. Carrying a card isnt a problem for most people, she
said, but the database of information behind that card is what troubles
My sense is we will not go to a national system, Meissner
said. Instead well have a number of systems. But people
will want something to help them easily move through their daily
life. People arent patient with the hassle factor of travel
and will want something to give them a Good Housekeeping Seal
Meissner spoke for 40 minutes, which was about the time allotted
to the symposiums other speakers, who came from all over the
Owen Cooper, INS general counsel, discussed how immigration laws
and criminal laws are interrelated; Nora Demleitner, visiting law
professor at Hofstra University, talked about how some immigrants
are granted entry into the U.S. in exchange for testimony in a criminal
case; Margaret Taylor and Ronald Wright, both law professors at
Wake Forest University, outlined their plan to align criminal cases
and deportation in the courtroom; Seattle attorney Robert Pauw talked
about how mandatory deportation and detentioneven for misdemeanorscan
break up families; and Georgetown University law Professor David
Cole closed the event, also speaking about detention.