This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Joe Patrice speaks with Immigration Law Clinic Associate Director Holly Cooper and Human Rights First President and Chief Executive Elisa Massimino about their panel covering legal issues surrounding the world immigration crisis. Elisa shares that the panel was framed around the concept of a global refugee crisis, which is the largest the world has faced since World War II. She states that the current situation puts huge demands on countries like the United States to provide leadership and that it’s important for us to remember that the crisis itself is less about refugees and more about the failure of governments to live up to their obligations under international law and provide refugees the protection to which they’re entitled. Holly focuses on some of the overlooked issues of our domestic policy and mentions that many Americans are unaware that we’ve seen one of the largest surges of refugees on our borders as well, but from a mostly Central American demographic. She talks about how Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala currently have some of the highest homicide rates of anywhere in the world that isn’t a war zone and emphasizes that our lack of domestic response, stigmatization, and privatization of the detention arena has incentivized the economics of a refugee crisis here in our own country. Both guests discuss how xenophobia can cultivate a climate that promotes radicalization and they close the interview with their thoughts on the importance of facilitating trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.
Elisa Massimino is president and chief executive officer of Human Rights First. She joined as a staff attorney in 1991 and served as the organization’s Washington Director from 1997 to 2008. Previously, Massimino was a litigator in private practice at the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where she was pro bono counsel in many human rights cases. She holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.
Holly Cooper is the associate director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. and is a nationally-recognized expert on immigration detention issues and on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Cooper is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, where she was on the Board of the King Hall Legal Foundation and an active member of the National Lawyers Guild. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. As an undergraduate, she also studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Padua in Italy. She speaks, reads, and writes in both Spanish and Italian.