Immigration Policy and Practice during the Coronavirus Pandemic


2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Event Type

Join us to discuss how actions the federal government has taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have impacted the immigrant community and what additional steps are needed to effectively enforce immigration laws while safeguarding both public health and fundamental due process rights during a national pandemic. On January 31, 2020, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a nationwide public health emergency due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and infectious disease that is highly contagious and can result in serious illness, even death. In March, the President declared a national emergency due to COVID-19. As of March 30, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control was reporting 140,904 verified cases and 2,405 deaths in the United States. This virus has resulted in federal, state, and local governments ordering extreme measures including the closing of all non-essential businesses and shelter-in-place requirements to attempt to slow the transmission of this dangerous disease. Amid these developments, the coronavirus epidemic is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable members of our society. Immigrants and those who serve the immigrant community have been among the most impacted given the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) failure to close all immigration courts, the conditions in immigration detention, and the government’s recent actions to close the southern border to asylum-seekers. This webinar will feature national experts on responding to public health emergencies both domestically and internationally, as well as reflections from immigration practitioners and a medical professional who will share best practices for serving individuals in a detained setting while confronting a global pandemic.


  • Fatma Marouf – Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Aileen M. Marty, M.D. – Professor of Infectious Disease, Florida International University, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
  • Dr. Dora Schriro – Special Advisor, ABA Commission on Immigration
  • Fermin Vargas – Senior Staff Attorney, ABA Immigration Justice Project
  • Representative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (invited)


  • Denise Gilman – Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Immigration Law Clinic, University of Texas School of Law

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