My research is centered on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law.
“Prosecutorial discretion” refers to a decision by an immigration officer or the agency
(as opposed to a judge) to abstain from enforcing the immigration laws against a person
or group of persons. In the immigration context, the decision to exercise prosecutorial
discretion favorably is pivotal for the individual because it functions as a form of
protection from removal, though the immigration status conferred is itself tenuous. A
prosecutorial discretion grant is also important to an agency seeking to focus its
priorities on the “truly dangerous” in order to conserve resources and recognize that
some individuals with exceptional qualities lack a legal way to remain in the United
States. My book, "Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in
Immigration Cases" will be published by New York University Press. The book ties
together and builds upon my body of scholarship on the topic of immigration prosecutorial
discretion. Currently, I am a law professor and the founder/director of the Center for
Immigrants' Rights at Penn State Law. 

Immigration Law


My Great FOIA Adventure and Discoveries of Deferred Action Cases at ICE, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal (2013)

This Article describes my adventures in FOIA litigation and analyzes deferred action data collected informally...



Response, the Obama Administration, In Defense of DACA, Deferred Action, and the DREAM Act, Texas Law Review, Vol. 91:59 (2013)

This essay responds to “The Obama Administration, the DREAM Act and the Take Care Clause”...



The Immigration Prosecutor and the Judge: Examining the Role of the Judiciary in Prosecutorial Discretion Decisions, Harvard Latino Law Review (2013)

Legal scholars and judges have long examined the role of judicial review in immigration matters,...



Use of the Term 'Illegal Alien', Debates on Immigration (2012)

This essay examines the use of the terms “alien,” “illegal,” and “illegal alien.” It will...


My FOIAs with DHS on Prosecutorial Discretion


FOIA Response from CBP on Notices to Appear (2013)

Following a FOIA to CBP for research on a forthcoming report by Penn State Law’s...



Standard Operating Procedure: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (2013)

In Fall 2012 I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request with DHS seeking...



FOIA Response from USCIS on Notices to Appear (2013)

As an outcome of a research for a future report by Penn State Dickinson School...



FOIA Response/Request from USCIS on Deferred Action Cases (2013)

I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request with USCIS seeking internal documents and...


Policy Documents

No subject area


The Rise of Speed Deportation and the Role of Discretion, Columbia Journal of Race and Law (2014)

In 2013, the majority of people deported never saw a courtroom or immigration judge, and...