About Kari E. Hong
Kari Hong is an assistant professor of law at Boston College Law School. An expert in immigration law, criminal law, and family law, Professor Hong’s scholarship focuses on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, the intersection of family law and immigration law, and contemporary matters in criminal law. Her articles have been published in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, and the University of Virginia Law Review. The New Jersey Supreme Court has cited her work. She has served as a commentator on television, radio, and in print.
In addition, she founded and runs the BC Ninth Circuit Appellate Program, which provides pro bono representation to non-citizens with criminal convictions. A central criticism of immigration law is that it treats hundreds of crimes the same, failing to take into account that state and federal judges consider specific offenses not serious or deserving of probation instead of incarceration. The clinic’s mission is to use federal court advocacy to restore proportionality and common sense into the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Notable decisions include Lopez-Valencia v. Lynch, 798 F.3d 863 (9th Cir. 2015) (holding Cal. Pen. Code § 484(a) overbroad and indivisible) (Kelly Schwartz ’15 and Jeremy Sanders ’15) and Vera-Valdevinos v. Lynch, No. 14-73861, (9th Cir. 2016) (holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3408 is overbroad and indivisible as an aggravated felony and deportability ground) (Jovalin Dedaj ’16 and Cristina Manzano ‘16).
Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Hong owned her own firm with offices in California and Oregon. In private practice, Professor Hong prepared nearly 100 actions in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, representing non-citizens in asylum, removal defense, and citizenship claims and criminal defendants accused of white collar crimes, violent felonies, and drug-related offenses. In the California courts, she prepared nearly 50 state criminal appeals, which included clients who had been convicted of serious felonies and those on death row.
Among her published decisions, Professor Hong prevailed in Ridore v. Holder, 696 F.3d 907 (9th Cir. 2012), which established that BIA must apply its clear error standard to review factual findings, that Matter of J-E- may be rebutted with contemporary evidence, and that government acquiescence may be inferred when a foreign government has a policy to subject U.S. criminal deportees to indefinite detention in deplorable prison conditions. Moreover, she prevailed in Tyson v. Holder, 670 F.3d. 1015 (9th Cir. 2012), which held that the protections of INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001) are not limited to the plea context and may be available to non-citizens who were tried by stipulated facts.
Before entering private practice, she clerked for the Honorable Jeremy Fogel, U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California and the Honorable Sidney Thomas, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Fall 2016: Ninth Circuit Appellate Project
- Spring 2017: Criminal Law, Ninth Circuit Appellate Project
Kari E. Hong
Boston College Law School
885 Centre St.
Newton Centre, MA 02459
East Wing 320
Articles and Book Chapters (7)
After Obergefell: Finding a Contemporary State Interest in Marriage The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law (2016)
In June 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court established that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. The decision articulated a sweeping defense of marriage, specifically the dignity that the institution provides ...
From Footnote to Footprint: Obergefell's Call to Reconsider Immigration Law as Family Law Family Law in Britain and America (2016)
This chapter is an engagement with the Obergefell decision to suggest one way in which the decision’s articulation of the citizen’s relationship with the government (or ‘the State,’ as is the preferred nomenclature among some) ...
Obergefell's Sword: The Liberal State Interest in Marriage University of Illinois Law Review, Forthcoming (2015)
Up until Obergefell v. Hodges, pro-marriage ideology was used to justify homophobic laws and the entrenched sexism of traditional marriages. Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, there is room for a ...
Removing Citizens: Parenthood, Immigration Courts, and Derivative Citizenship Georgetown Immigration Law Journal (2015)
As a creature of administrative law, Congress has set forth clear, statutory definitions of “parent,” “child,” “son,” “daughter,” and “step-parent.” As a practical matter, these terms create a uniform system by which family relationships are ...
Famigration (Fam Imm): The Next Frontier in Immigration Law Virginia Law Review Online (2014)
The recently published article, Immigration’s Family Values by Professor Kerry Abrams and R. Kent Piacenti, and the forthcoming Removing Citizens: Parenthood, Citizenship, and Immigration Courts by Kari Hong examine how, when, and why immigration law ...
Parens Patri[Archy]: Adoption, Eugenics, and Same-Sex Couples California Western Law Review (2003)
Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Utah have laws or regulations prohibiting gay men, lesbian women, same-sex couples, or single parents (heterosexual and homosexual) from serving as adoptive or foster parents. In court filings, Arkansas, Florida, and ...
Ninth Circuit Appellate Program Cases (4)
The BC Ninth Circuit Appellate Program provides pro bono representation to non-citizens with criminal convictions. A central criticism of immigration law is that it treats hundreds of crimes the same, failing to take into account that state and federal judges consider specific offenses not serious or deserving of probation instead of incarceration. The clinic’s mission is to use federal court advocacy to restore proportionality and common sense into the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.
Lopez-Valencia v. Lynch, 798 F.3d 863 (9th Cir. 2015) with Kelly Schwartz '15 and Jeremy Sanders '15 (2015)
California theft offenses can no longer serve as aggravated felonies because California's theft statute is indivisible because the jury does not have to distinguish between fraud and larceny when convicting defendants of a charged crime.
Blackwell-Hill v. Lynch, 614 Fed.Appx. 348, (9th Cir. 2015) with Shannon Johnson ’15 and Alejandra Salinas '15 (2015)
Presenting claim that Nevada’s solicitation of prostitution statute was not a crime of moral turpitude because the statute was a crime of general intent and permitted conduct in licensed brothels. Court remanded the case to the ...
Garcia v. Holder, 749 F.3d 785 (9th Cir. 2014) with Marija Ozolins '14 and Mackenzie Houck '14 (2014)
Upholding immigration judge’s decision that an abused woman from the Dominican Republic who misrepresented her identity when apprehended at the border could be found not credible despite no inconsistencies regarding the material facts of her ...
Jara-Arellano v. Holder, 567 Fed. App'x 544? (9th Cir. Apr. 11, 2014) with David Kete '14 and Andrew Trombly '14 (2014)
Defense counsel’s stipulations that Mr. Jara’s prior convictions constituted particularly serious crimes were not binding on the Court because the classification of his convictions is a matter of law, subject to de novo review. The Court further ...
Ninth Circuit Appellate Program Media (10)
Ninth Circuit Appellate Students Make Their Argument in Court (video of arguments made by Shannon Johnson, Alejandra Salinas, Jeremy Sanders, Kelly Schwartz) Boston College Law School Magazine (2015)
Third-year students Shannon Johnson, Alejandra Salinas, Jeremy Sanders, and Kelly Schwartz just stood before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California and made their arguments to the judges on behalf of their clients–an opportunity ...
Ninth Circuit Clinic Wins Recognition for Innovation Boston College Law School Magazine (2014)
A year after arriving at Boston College Law School in 2012, Professor Kari Hong, who had handled nearly 100 appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, started an experiential pilot program ...
May It Please the Court Boston College Law School Magazine (2014)
In a real federal appeals court,in real time, four students endure judges’ withering questions but introduce novel concepts and argue masterfully on behalf of their immigrant clients. Feature on the Ninth Circuit Appellate Project in ...
Op-Ed Pieces (6)
Deporting Illegal Immigrants who Commit Crimes Isn’t Always the Answer The Boston Globe (2015)
This editorial argues for smarter immigration policies than the current measures used to identify, detain, and deport immigrants who have criminal convictions. The editorial argues against wasteful detention practices and current immigration law that classifies ...