Wiley A. Branton/Howard Law Journal Symposium

Each year, the Howard Law Journal, with the support of Sidley Austin LLP and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, holds the Wiley A. Branton Symposium to honor Howard University School of Law’s former Dean, civil rights activist, and Sidley partner, the late Wiley A. Branton. Since the Symposium's inception, it has been the source of thought-provoking scholarly articles. Every Volume, the Howard Law Journal dedicates Issue 3 to publish articles from Symposium participants.

October 6, 2022
Eventbrite Link: 19th Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium

Location: Moot Court Room

Sidley Austin LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

The Howard Law Journal presents the 19th Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium, entitled Immigration and the Law. This year’s symposium focuses on immigration equality, the effect of recent immigration policies on marginalized communities, and the future of immigration equity legislation. The symposium will be held in person, with an option to join via Zoom.

Symposium Agenda

9:30 AM: Welcome and Introduction by Dean Danielle Holley

10:00 AM: Panel 1 - Surveillance and Licensing

Michael S. Vastine
Michael Vastine joined the faculty of St. Thomas University College of Law in 2004, where he is Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs.  Michael has both represented individual clients and authored amicus curiae briefs in major litigation regarding immigration and crimes and the due process rights of immigrants, representing groups including American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Catholic Legal Services in cases before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Florida and Connecticut state supreme courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Michael also publishes on these topics and has made hundreds of presentations at conferences of the immigration bar.  He is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Temple University Graduate School of Music, and Georgetown University Law Center. In 2013, Michael received the AILA (National) Elmer Fried Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Sabrineh Ardalan
Sabrineh Ardalan is director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. At the clinic, Ardalan supervises and trains law students working on applications for asylum and other humanitarian protections, as well as appellate litigation and policy advocacy. She has authored briefs submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals, as well as to the federal district courts, circuit courts of appeal, and U.S. Supreme Court on cutting edge issues in U.S. asylum law. She also oversees and collaborates closely with the clinic’s social work staff. She teaches courses on immigration and refugee law and advocacy, as well as on trauma, refugees, and the law, and on international labor migration. Prior to her work with the clinic, Ardalan clerked for Hon. Michael A. Chagares of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Hon. Raymond J. Dearie, district judge for the Eastern District of New York. She previously served as the Equal Justice America fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, where she worked on advocacy around a right to health care under U.S. and international law and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine LLP. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in history and international studies from Yale College.

L. Darnell Weeden
Professor L. Darnell Weeden is a Roberson King Professor of Law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University. He earned his B.A. in Journalism & Political Science and his J.D. from the University of Mississippi. Professor Weeden is a prolific scholar of constitutional law with expertise in civil rights, election law, torts, criminal procedure, school integration, and immigration law.  A frequent speaker at universities and law schools, Professor Weeden’s scholarship has made a significant contribution to the legal profession in a wide variety of subjects.


Moderator_Hon. Tiffany Williams Brewer

Panel 1 - Moderator: Hon. Tiffany Williams Brewer
Hon. Tiffany Williams Brewer is an Assistant Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law and serves as the Chair of a state investigatory commission. At Howard, Ms. Brewer teaches courses in Legislation & Regulation, Evidence, Professional Responsibility and Black Women & the Law. Her research focuses on intersection of gender, criminal justice, and faith. Ms. Brewer is a former administrative law judge and government executive who passionately advocates for the global advancement of women and girls. She seeks to empower women leaders to create public policy initiatives and strategic outcomes to dismantle systemic barriers to women’s advancement. She dedicates her time to mentoring and teaching the next generation of public policy and law students to be transformational change agents globally. Ms. Brewer is also the host of a monthly women’s empowerment webinar, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

11:00 AM: Panel 2 - The Social and Political Nuances of Immigration and the Law


Andrew I. Schoenholtz
Andrew I. Schoenholtz is a Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law, where he co-directs the Center for Applied Legal Studies, the asylum clinic in which students represent refugees fleeing persecution who seek asylum in the United States.  He also directs the Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies and serves as the faculty director of the Human Rights Institute. He has taught courses on Refugee Law and Policy, Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies, and Immigration Law and Policy, as well as a practicum on the rights of detained immigrants.  Prior to teaching at Georgetown, Professor Schoenholtz served as Deputy Director of the US Commission on Immigration Reform.  He also practiced immigration, asylum, and international law with the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling.  He has conducted fact-finding missions in Haiti, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia, Malawi, and Zambia to study root causes of forced migration, refugee protection, long-term solutions to mass migration emergencies, and humanitarian relief operations. Professor Schoenholtz researches and writes regularly on refugee law and policy. His publications include work such as:  The End of Asylum (co-author) and The Promise and Challenge of Humanitarian Protection in the United States: Making Temporary Protected Status Work as a Safe Haven. Dr. Schoenholtz holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a PhD from Brown University. 

Sarah Paoletti
Sarah Paoletti is a Practice Professor of Law and founding Director of the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.  Prof. Paoletti’s scholarship, research and advocacy focuses at the intersections of migration and human rights.  She was the co-author of two in-depth studies on access to justice for migrant workers from countries of origin in Nepal and Indonesia, and served as a Project Adviser for FairSquare Projects’ Five Corridors Project on the fair recruitment of migrant workers (Fall 2019 – present). She also authored “Working Towards Recognition of the Rights of Migrant and Refugee Children,” in The Oxford Handbook on Children’s Rights Law (2020).  Prior to entering academia, Paoletti was a staff attorney at Friends of Farmworkers, Inc. (now, Justice at Work), a statewide legal services program serving migrant workers in Pennsylvania, and later served on their Board from 2007-2016.  Prof. Paoletti is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc., a binational migrant worker rights organization with offices in the U.S. and Mexico, and she serves on the Executive Committee of Migration that Works.  She was a law clerk for the Hon. Judge Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.  She received her JD from the Washington College of Law American University summa cum laude, and her B.A. from Yale University.  

Lindsay M. Harris
Professor Lindsay M. Harris directs UDC Law’s Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. In 2020, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) awarded her the Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award. She serves as Associate Dean of Clinical and Experiential Programs and on the AILA National Afghan Task Force. Previously, Lindsay worked at the American Immigration Council focused on efforts to end family detention and at the Tahirih Justice Center as an Equal Justice Works fellow and staff attorney leading the African Women’s Empowerment Project. She clerked on the Ninth Circuit and previously taught at Georgetown Law and at George Mason. She thinks and writes in the asylum law space, but also explores clinical pedagogy and has a particular focus on secondary trauma and burnout among law students and lawyers. Professor Harris received her J.D. from Berkeley Law, with an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center; she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego. She is an immigrant from the U.K. and mother of two rambunctious young children.

Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine
The Reverend Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine (a/k/a “Jay Augustine”) is a multidisciplinary professional, author, and nationally recognized social justice advocate. In addition to serving as a visiting professor of law at North Carolina Central University, Dr. Augustine serves as the senior pastor of St. Joseph AME Church (Durham, NC) and as an adjunct faculty member at Duke Divinity School. His most recent book is Called to Reconciliation: How the Church Can Model Justice, Diversity and Inclusion (Baker Academic, 2022) and his forthcoming work is When Prophets Preach: Leadership and the Politics of the Pulpit (Fortress Press, 2023). His published scholarship on civil and voting rights appears in law reviews including the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Louisiana Law Review, and Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. He also co-authored an amicus curie brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, 524 U.S. ___ (2021), while serving at of counsel with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Dr. Augustine earned an economics degree from Howard University, along with an active-duty commission, before serving as an infantry officer in the United States Army. He then earned his law degree from Tulane University. After law school, Augustine served as a law clerk to then-Associate Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, at the Louisiana Supreme Court, before accepting the calling to ordained ministry and earning his Master of Divinity degree at United Theological Seminary. He also earned his doctorate from Duke University.      

2. Moderator_Darin Johnson
Moderator: Professor Darin Johnson
Darin Johnson is an Associate Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law. Professor Johnson received his B.A. from Yale College in 1997 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000. At Harvard Law School, he was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Professor Johnson was recognized by Harvard Law School with the Irving R. Kaufman Public Interest Fellowship, the Samuel Heyman Fellowship for Public Service, and the Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship. During his final year of law school, Professor Johnson was selected as one of only two commissioned U.S. Army officers to serve in the Secretary of the Army General Counsel’s Office Honors Program at the Pentagon. He served as an Assistant General Counsel to the Army Secretariat for four years, completing his military service with the rank of Captain. After leaving the Pentagon, Professor Johnson continued to practice law as an attorney-adviser in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser. During his tenure with the Office of the Legal Adviser, Professor Johnson advised on a wide range of international legal issues, involving Middle Eastern, political-military, United Nations, and other multilateral matters.

12:00 PM: Presentation of the Wiley A. Branton Scholar Award

12:30 PM: Luncheon

1:30 PM: Branton Video Presentation

1:40 PM: Keynote Address by Mr. Marc H. Morial
 Marc H. Morial is the President and CEO of the National Urban League. Over the last 15 years, Marc has expanded the reach of our services by empowering our affiliate movement and created a framework to create policies that serve communities of color. As Mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002, Morial led New Orleans’ renaissance and left office with a 70% approval rating. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies and holds a law degree from Georgetown University. He also is the author of, The Gumbo Coalition, a collection of lessons on the power of unity in our Democracy and a leadership framework for America's changemakers.

2:40 PM: Panel 3 - Combatting the Effects of Immigration Inequality


Shazaib Jiwani
Shahzaib Jiwani is an experienced healthcare professional. Over the past ten years, Mr. Jiwani has held various roles throughout the industry—from patient registration to practice administration. Mr. Jiwani is also an EMT and has responded to countless calls for emergency medical care. These experiences have provided Mr. Jiwani with a unique perspective into the nuances of the healthcare system and the communities it intends to serve. Fittingly, Mr. Jiwani’s recent research interests have centered at the intersections of state legislation, access to healthcare, and immigration policy. Mr. Jiwani received an undergraduate degree focused in Psychology from Oglethorpe University, and he received a graduate degree focused in Finance from Harvard University. He is also a recent graduate of the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia.

Evangeline Abriel
Evangeline Abriel is a Clinical Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she teaches courses in practical skills and immigration law, including the Immigration Appellate Practice Clinic, Immigration Law and Crimes, and Forced Migration Law. She also directs the law school’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service. She is a co-author of the VAWA Manual: Immigration Relief for Abused Immigrants and T Visas: A Critical Immigration Option for Survivors of Human Trafficking, both published by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.  Prior to joining Santa Clara, she was a senior attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), where she provided technical assistance in immigration law matters to advocates around the country, and a clinical professor of law at Loyola New Orleans College of the Law, where she practiced law with her students in the areas of immigration, federal civil rights, and juvenile law.

 Amelia Wilson
Amelia is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Seton Hall University Law School in Newark, NJ where she co-instructs the Immigrants’ Rights/Int’l Human Rights Clinic. Prior to joining Seton Hall Law School, Amelia served as Supervising Attorney, Research School and Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School where she co-instructed the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. Amelia has been practicing in the area of refugee and asylum law for over 17 years, primarily representing detained noncitizens before U.S. immigration courts. She specializes in representing noncitizens with mental health disabilities as they navigate our detention and deportation system. Amelia has dedicated the last 12 years of her career to advocating for and writing about the need to safeguard this particularly vulnerable population. In addition to teaching, writing, and engaging in direct legal services, Amelia helped the Department of Justice build the first (and to date, only) government-funded appointed counsel system for any immigrant group. Her most recent publication, available at https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlro/vol97/iss1/2/, criticizes the very program she used to run.  

Nicole Hallett
Nicole Hallett is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School and directs the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, which provides legal representation to immigrant communities in Chicago. Her scholarship focuses on immigration and labor/employment law. In her practice, she specializes in creative lawyering through complex litigation and multi-pronged advocacy. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, NPR, The Nation, the Today Show, the Intercept, and the Associated Press, among other places. She was previously an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Law, where she founded and directed the Community Justice Clinic and the US-Mexico Border Clinic, and a Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow at Yale Law School, where she co-taught the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic. Before beginning her teaching career, she was a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at the Community Development Project of Urban Justice Center in New York City, where she represented victims of human trafficking and labor exploitation. After graduating from Yale Law School, she clerked for the Honorable Mark R. Kravitz on the United States District Court of the District of Connecticut and the Honorable Rosemary S. Pooler of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She also has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Refugee Studies.

3. Moderator_Elsy M. Ramos Velasquez
Moderator: Elsy M. Ramos Velasquez
Elsy Ramos Velasquez is an Associate at Clark Hill PLC. She represents individuals in immigration proceedings before federal courts and immigration agencies. She focuses her practice on removal defense, as well as affirmative benefits before federal agencies. She regularly represents clients seeking asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, visa protection under the Violence Against Women Act, and waiver applications. She provides counsel and assistance with non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications before U.S. Consulates.

3:40 PM: Closing Remarks by Dean Danielle Holley


Wiley A. Branton Biography

A prominent attorney and noted civil rights activist, Wiley Austin Branton was a strong advocate of voting rights for all Americans. Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on December 13, 1923, he received his elementary, junior high, and high school education in Pine Bluff schools.

An Army veteran of World War II, Branton spent time during the post-war period teaching blacks how to mark an election ballot. His efforts resulted in his being convicted of a misdemeanor for “teaching the mechanics of voting.” Branton attended Arkansas A.M. & N. College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) where he received the Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1950. He received his law degree in 1952 from the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville.

Branton achieved national prominence when he served as the chief counsel for the Black plaintiffs in the 1957 Little Rock Desegregation Case. However, during his long distinguished legal career, he made significant contributions in the voting rights arena as both a public officer and private citizen. In 1962, the major American civil rights leaders, which included Roy Wilkins, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Whitney Young, Jr., unanimously approved the selection of Branton as the first executive director of the Southern Regional Council’s Voter Education Project, based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Project was a cooperative effort that successfully registered over 600,000 Black voters in eleven states and helped create the momentum for the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

In 1965, Branton moved to Washington where he was appointed by Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey as the executive secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Council on Equal Opportunity. As a chief aide to Humphrey and Johnson, Branton traveled throughout the South encouraging Blacks to register under the 1965 Voting Rights Act. From 1972 to 1974, Branton served as head of the Voter Registration Fund, a non-partisan organization created to provide funding to tax exempt organizations in support of voter registration activities.

Wiley Austin Branton served as dean of the Howard University School of Law from January 1, 1978 to September 2, 1983.

Past Wiley A. Branton Symposiums

Seventeenth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: An Environment of Justice: Developments & Challenges in Environmental Law

Sixteenth Annual Wiley A. Branton/Howard Law Journal Symposium
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 63 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2020

Fifteenth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: We the People? Internal and External Challenges to the American Electoral Process
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 62 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 201

Fourteenth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Speaking Truth to Power: A New Age of First Amendment Rights?
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 61 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2018

Thirteenth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: President Obama's Legacy in the Courts: Executive Power and the Federal Judiciary
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 60 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2017

Twelfth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Reforming the Criminal Justice System
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 59 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2016

Eleventh Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Rights vs. Control: America's Perennial Debate on Guns
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 58 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2015

Tenth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Civil Rights at a Critical Juncture: Confronting Old Conflicts and New Challenges
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 57 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2014

Ninth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Protest & Polarization: Law and Debate in America
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 56 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2013

Eighth Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Health Care Reform and Vulnerable Communities: Can We Afford It? Can We Afford to Live Without It?​
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 55 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2012

Seventh Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium: Collateral Consequences: Who Really Pays the Price for Criminal "Justice"?
Howard Law Journal:  VOLUME 54 • ISSUE 3 • SPRING 2011