About Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia
Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is an expert on immigration law and one of the nation’s leading scholars on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. Her scholarship in this area has served as a foundation for scholars, advocates, and government officials seeking to understand or design a strong prosecutorial discretion policy. Her work identifies the historical role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law, the extent to which some acts of discretion operate as a benefit, and the dynamic role and need for transparency, sound procedures, and accountability. Her work has been published by Columbia Journal of Race and Law, Harvard Latino Law Review, Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Texas Law Review, Howard Law Journal, among others. Her book, Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases, was published by New York University Press in 2015.
At Penn State Law, Wadhia teaches doctrinal courses in immigration and asylum and refugee law. She is also the founder/director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, where students produce practitioner toolkits, white papers, and primers of national impact on behalf of client organizations. Clients have included the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First, Kids in Need of Defense, the National Guestworker Alliance, National Immigrant Justice Center, among others. At the Center, students also provide community outreach and education on immigration topics and legal support in individual cases of immigrants challenging deportation (removal). The Center also conducts group rights presentations for immigration detainees held at the Clinton County Jail.
Wadhia has appeared on national television and radio stations, including MSNBC and C-SPAN and has been quoted or featured by international, national, and local publications, including The Hill, National Law Journal, Washington Post, NBC News, Associated Press, and The Economist Blog, among others.
Prior to joining Penn State, Professor Wadhia was deputy director for legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C. She has been honored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and in 2003, she was named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. She has also been an associate with Maggio Kattar, P.C. in Washington, D.C., where she handled asylum, deportation, and employment-based immigration benefits matters.
Honors and Awards
- Department of Homeland Security's Office for the Inspector General, Leadership Award
- Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Leadership Award
- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Pro Bono Attorney of the Year
- Immigration Law
- Asylum and Refugee Law
- Center for Immigrants' Rights
FOIAs with USCIS on Prosecutorial Discretion (9)
Standard Operating Procedure for Deferred Action (non-DACA) (2015)
In January 2015, I filed a FOIA request seeking updated internal policies and correspondence regarding deferred action (non-DACA) with USCIS. In August 2015, I received a response containing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) (version date ...
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 records pertaining to the agency's implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, among other items. DHS provided ...
FOIAS with CBP and ICE on Prosecutorial Discretion (4)
Scholarly Articles on Prosecutorial Discretion (15)
The Aftermath of United States v. Texas Yale Journal on Regulation: Notice and Comment (2016)
On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 ruling in the immigration case of United States v. Texas, blocking two “deferred action” programs announced by President Obama on November 20, 2014: extended Deferred ...
Beyond Deportation: Understanding Immigration Prosecutorial Discretion and United States V. Texas Immigration and Nationality Law Review (2016)
In this article, I place the Supreme Court case of United States v. Texas into a broader context by describing the history and legal authority for prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and highlighting the contents ...
Remarks on Executive Action and Immigration Reform Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2016)
This essay places the President's executive actions on immigration last November into a larger context by providing a brief history of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases. This essay also describes how law students at Penn ...
The President and Deportation: DACA, DAPA, and the Sources and Limits of Executive Authority - Response to Hiroshi Motomura Washburn Law Journal (2016)
This Essay is a response to Washburn University School of Law's Foulston Siefkin Lecture, 2015 titled "The President and Deportation: DACA, DAPA, and the Sources and Limits of Executive Authority," delivered by Professor Hiroshi Motomura ...
Demystifying Employment Authorization and Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases Columbia Journal of Race and Law (2015)
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a series of immigration programs aimed to reform the immigration system. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans or Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and extended Deferred Action for ...
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. Instead, they were quickly removed by the Department of Homeland Security via one of several procedures collectively referred to as “speed ...
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 by 24 ICE field offices between October 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. This Article also offers recommendations for the ...
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” by Robert J. Delahunty and John C. Yoo. Though I credit Yoo and Delahunty for considering the relationship between the ...
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, and also criticized the impacts of the “plenary power” doctrine and statutory deletions of judicial review for certain immigration cases. ...
Sharing Secrets Examining Deferred Action and Transparancy in Immigration Law University of New Hampshire Law Review (2011)
This Article is about deferred action and transparency in related immigration cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While scholars from other genres have written extensively on the topic of ...