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Immigration Law Studies: Overview of Coursework and Career Options

Immigration law classes can be part of the requirements for a law degree and they may lead to careers in government or non-profit agencies. A J.D. in Immigration Law prepares students for work as lawyers, paralegals, border patrol agents, customs inspectors or professors, among other professions. Continue reading the article below for more details about courses and careers in immigration law.

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Essential Information

Career options for students of immigration law include going into private practice, public policy or non-profit advocacy. Students interested in becoming immigration lawyers have the opportunity to build practical skills by working for clinics, organizations or pro bono firms, which offer aid to immigrants and their families.

Governmental work is also a popular option. The Department of Homeland Security oversees many of the immigration jobs available, including those at agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection. Coursework will cover topics taken from this list:

  • Immigration and employment laws
  • Citizenship
  • U.S. policy
  • Political asylum
  • Naturalization
  • Global human rights campaigns
  • Overseas refugee programs

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List of Courses

Immigration Law

This course explores the history and policy of immigration and citizenship law in the U.S. Coursework examines the constitutional and international foundations affecting issues of immigration, as well as the jurisdiction of the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws. The rights of American-born children of undocumented immigrants are discussed, along with such issues as political asylum, amnesty, refugee rights and deportation. Students focus on the social and moral implications of immigration policy.

Refugee and Asylum Law

The issues of asylum and refugee status make up a major part of a nation's immigration law. Current law and policy regarding these issues is examined alongside the politics driving immigration policy in the U.S. Lessons analyze the federal agencies that implement asylum and refugee policy. Also addressed are extradition law, overseas refugee programs and gender-based persecution claims.

Citizenship Law

In this course, students are taught the history and politics surrounding the citizenship laws of the United States. Topics include naturalization and denaturalization, dual nationality, loss of citizenship and acquisition at birth. Other selected issues include the handling of denials and appeals, naturalization process applications, disability waivers and deportability. Courses also address the larger concept of what it means to call oneself a citizen and belong to a nation.

Human Rights Law

Coursework examines the strategies and tactics used by human rights lawyers and advocates. Students learn about investigation and documentation, litigation, policy advocacy and global human rights campaigns. An overview of international human rights law is provided, and students are encouraged to consider the meaning of the concept 'human rights' both by itself and within the context of the legal system. Students also discuss the roles of international and regional courts, international governmental organizations and non-governmental affiliations in relation to the preservation and enforcement of human rights.

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