Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia
Award Recipient: Excellence in Legal Advocacy Award
Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is an expert on immigration law whose research focuses on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and the intersections of race, national security and immigration. One of the nation’s leading scholars on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law, Wadhia’s 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 has been published by Emory Law Journal; Texas Law Review; Columbia Journal of Race and Law; Notice & Comment, Yale Journal on Regulation; Harvard Latino Law Review; Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal; Georgetown Immigration Law Journal; and Howard Law Journal, among others and also cited to by federal court judges. Her book, Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases, was published by New York University Press and is new in paperback in 2017.
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 she supervises students on in the developments of policy and practitioner tools of national impact on behalf of organizational client. 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 Clinic, students also provide community outreach and education and in this capacity has worked closely with the Borough of State College and local organizations on emerging immigration topics. Following the Presidential election 2016, the Clinic has reached more than 500 individuals and families and served as a clearinghouse for the community and nationally on changing immigration law and policy. Finally, the Clinic provides legal support in individual cases applying for an immigration benefit or challenging deportation (removal) in federal courts. The Clinic is a member of Welcoming America, a national movement of organizations and municipal governments interested in making their communities more welcoming to immigrants and refugees.
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 New York Times Magazine, The Hill, National Law Journal, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and Associated Press, 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 American-Arab 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.