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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 DeportationThe 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 HillNational Law JournalWashington PostNBC NewsAssociated 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.


Present Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar, Clinical Professor of Law, and Director, Center for Immigrants' Rights, Penn State Law

Curriculum Vitae



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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

Recent Works (3)

FOIAs with USCIS on Prosecutorial Discretion (10)

FOIAS with CBP and ICE on Prosecutorial Discretion (5)

Scholarly Articles on Prosecutorial Discretion (19)