Image: Breaching Borders.

Breaching Borders: State Encroachment into the Federal Immigration Domain?

Washburn Law was pleased to convene a symposium exploring the political and legal controversies mounting at the intersection of federal and state immigration law. A number of distinguished experts participated in three distinct plenary sessions:

  1. Comparative Assessment of State Immigration Policies;
  2. Immigration and Employment; and
  3. Birthright Citizenship.

See below for video from each session or visit the Washburn Law channel on YouTube ( Icon: YouTube. ).

Symposium Schedule

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Session 1 (Morning)

State Policy Potpourri: Some Comparative Assessments

State policy makers across the country are advancing a number of proposals that are bound up in the great debate regarding the current state of federal immigration law and its shortcomings. In some states, leaders are advancing efforts to adopt stepped-up anti-voter fraud provisions that many believe are aimed at undocumented immigrants. In other states, local law enforcement officials are becoming deeply enmeshed in the enforcement of federal immigration law. In another set of states, some leaders have worked to enhance the prospects for undocumented immigrants either by enabling them to attend public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates, authorizing them to obtain drivers licenses, or both. Yet many opponents in those same states are actively seeking to block or roll-back those efforts. This panel will discuss and analyze this state policy potpourri and offer some comparative assessments.

Morning Schedule and Speakers

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration and coffee/pastries
  • 9:00 a.m. – Welcome by Washburn Law Dean Thomas J. Romig
  • 9:15 a.m. – Speaker presentations
    • Kris W. KobachSecretary of State for Kansas [ bio ]
      » Read Washburn Law Journal article (149 KB PDF)
    • Nora V. DemleitnerDean and Professor of Law, Hofstra University School of Law [ bio ]
    • Patrick J. CharlesHistorian, U.S. Air Force 352nd Special Operations Group [ bio ]
  • 10:30 a.m. – Break
  • 10:40 a.m. – Panel discussion with morning speakers
  • 12:00 p.m. – Lunch and speaker
    • "Immigration Issues from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Perspective"
      Peter S. VincentPrincipal Legal Advisor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [ bio ]

Session 2 (Afternoon)

Immigration and Employment

A significant number of immigrants are working illegally in the United States. In an effort to both protect the legal work force and to deter illegal immigration, the federal government has criminalized the hiring of undocumented workers and in recent years has heightened workplace enforcement. Some states are experimenting with new laws designed to complement, mirror, and/or expand upon federal law and have been challenged by the federal government on preemption grounds. This panel will explore the competing sides of the debate, and the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 131 S.Ct. 1968 (2011).

Afternoon Schedule and Speakers

  • 1:30 p.m. – Speaker presentations
    • Juliet StumpfProfessor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School [ bio ]
    • Rick SuAssociate Professor of Law and Director of Journal, University at Buffalo Law School [ bio ]
      » Read Washburn Law Journal article (190 KB PDF)
    • David S. RubensteinAssociate Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law [ bio ]
  • 2:45 p.m. – Break
  • 2:55 p.m. – Panel discussion with afternoon speakers
  • 4:15 p.m. – Afternoon session adjourns

Evening Reception, Buffet, and Speaker

  • Location: Capitol Plaza Hotel (Maner Conference Center), Shawnee Room
  • 5:30 p.m. – Reception (cash bar)
  • 6:00 p.m. – Italian Buffet
  • 7:00 p.m. – Speaker
    • "Immigration Policy: Myths, Realities, and Reforms"
      Peter H. SchuckSimeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law and Professor (Adjunct) of Law, Yale Law School [ bio ]
      » Read Washburn Law Journal article (161 KB PDF)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Session 3 (Morning)

Curtailing Birthright Citizenship

Anchored within the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the principle that a person born within the boundaries of the United States is a citizen thereof, regardless of the immigration status of their parents. Some members of Congress have submitted legislative proposals that would alter this policy at the federal level. In addition, a number of state legislatures are considering proposals that would limit birthright citizenship to those who have at least one parent who is either a citizen or lawful permanent resident. What is the likely effect of these efforts? Given the immigration challenges confronting the nation, should policy makers re-visit the concept of birthright citizenship? Is this an issue appropriate for state policy makers at all? These and other related questions will be among those considered by this panel.

Morning Schedule and Speakers

  • 8:30 a.m. – Registration and coffee/pastries
  • 9:00 a.m. – Welcome and first day review/comments by Washburn Law Professor Reggie Robinson [ bio ]
  • 9:15 a.m. – Speaker presentations
    • Margaret StockAdjunct Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Political Science [ bio ]
    • Rachel E. RosenbloomAssistant Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law [ bio ]
      » Read Washburn Law Journal article (249 KB PDF)
    • Patrick J. CharlesHistorian, U.S. Air Force 352nd Special Operations Group [ bio ]
      » Read Washburn Law Journal article (437 KB PDF)
  • 10:30 a.m. – Break
  • 10:40 a.m. – Panel discussion with morning speakers
  • 12:00 p.m. – Symposium adjourns

Short URL for this page:

Symposium Articles

Articles written in conjunction with this symposium appear in Washburn Law Journal, volume 51, issue 2.

Photograph: Demonstrater holding sign that reads 'Today we march, tomorrow we vote.'

General Information

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011

Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center
Parking: south and west of Bradbury.
Directions and Maps: see below


See speaker and panelist biographies.

Photograph: Patrick Charles. Photograph: Nora Demleitner.

Photograph: Kris Kobach. Photograph: Reginald Robinson.

Photograph: Rachel Rosenbloom. Photograph: David Rubenstein.

Photograph: Peter Schuck. Photograph: Margaret Stock.

Photograph: Juliett Stumpf. Photograph: Rick Su.

Photograph: Peter Vincent.


The Symposium was sponsored by the Washburn University School of Law Center for Law and Government and the Washburn Law Journal.

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact:

  • Shawn Leisinger, Executive Director, Centers for Excellence, at or (785) 670-2462 or
  • Professor Reggie Robinson, Director of the Center for Law and Government.
Thumbnail image: Front of Breaching Borders Immigration Symposium brochure; click to view.

View symposium brochure (376 KB PDF)
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).