Crimmigration and race conversations

The Crimmigration Law Lecture Series that began last week at the University of Denver took to heart the desire to engage with this emerging area of law in an innovative manner. Bringing together senior scholars, junior scholars, practitioners, and even the petitioner in a landmark Supreme Court case, the lecture series tackled history, politics, and the realities of law enforcement in three well-attended sessions.

Given the presidential election cycle that we’re currently in the midst of, the series began by focusing on how race has altered the development of crimmigration law, as well as how crimmigration law affects race relations in the United States. In a recent article, Kevin Johnson claimed that crimmigration scholarship “fails to critically assess the predominant role that race plays in modern law enforcement.” Johnson reiterated a version of that critique during his opening talk. In an afternoon session, Yolanda Vázquez (University of Cincinnati) and Linus Chan (University of Minnesota) offered spirited responses to Johnson’s critiques. Meanwhile, we were privileged to have José Padilla, the namesake in Padilla v. Kentucky, join us. Though the story of his experience has been recounted in immense detail in legal briefs, scholarly articles, book chapters, and more, Mr. Padilla is rarely heard from directly. Indeed, until last week I had never heard him speak, met anyone who had heard him speak, or even seen a photograph of him.

Thanks to the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s technology office, we were able to record all but Dean Johnson’s talks. Those are available below. The lecture series resumes on April 19 with talks by Jennifer Chacón (U.C. Irvine) and Mariela Olivares (Howard). If you are in the Denver area, consider attending in person. Both talks will be free and open to the public. If you are not in the area, we will be able to livestream and record the talk by Professor Olivares.

Watch José Padilla, Christopher Lasch, Hans Meyer, and Yolanda Vázquez

Watch Linus Chan and Yolanda Vázquez