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César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

He delivered a talk entitled “The US Can Move Past Immigration Prisons—and Towards Justice” at a TEDxMileHigh event in July. A professor and the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at The Ohio State University law school, he has published widely and maintains a blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law.


Who Is César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández?: A child of the 1980s borderlands where South Texas meets northeastern Mexico, he is now a civil rights and civil liberties law professor, author, and leading expert on the history and legality of criminalizing immigration. What Is the Criminalization of Immigration?: “The federal government imprisons a lot of migrants as it decides whether they will be allowed to remain in the US. Often it uses county jails or private, for-profit prisons, which has the effect of criminalizing migration in fact if not in law.” Alternative Routes?: “Allow them to stay, or shift money out of prisons and into support services: social workers to help manage a high-stress legal process, case workers to ensure migrants understand the stakes, and lawyers to help them navigate immigration law.” Why He Became a Lawyer: “After graduating from Brown University, I was teaching sixth grade in Providence. Almost all my students were migrants or children of migrants, and most were poor. I saw a lot of myself in them. Quickly, I became frustrated by the one-by-one attempts to help those kids navigate the world. I wanted to engage with and think about the challenges facing their communities, and mine, more systematically, which is exactly what I get to do now.”