Immigration reform, judicial bias on ABA agenda

New American Bar Association recommendations on immigration system reform, ways to mitigate judicial bias for more equitable outcomes, and the resurgence of racism toward immigrants and people of color are among the issues explored at the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting Jan. 23-28 in Las Vegas.

The 601-member ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policy-making body — will meet Jan. 28.

Notable programs include:

• “Commission on the Future of Legal Education” — Members of the ABA Innovation Center and the Commission on the Future of Legal Education will join to discuss the panel’s work as well as explore how best to align the education and licensing of legal professionals with accelerating technology advances and the ever-changing practice of law.

The commission was formed in 2017 to address the challenging job market for new lawyers, falling bar-passage rates and other issues in legal education,

• “Improving Outcomes by Removing Legal Barriers in Southern Nevada” — Solutions to youth homelessness in Nevada will be examined by lawyers, advocates and providers.
Discussion will focus on the recently released “Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness,” covering such topics as existing legal resources, unmet needs in services and referral systems.

• “Trafficking in the World of Chance: Human Trafficking in the Casino Industry and Beyond” — Apanel will examine the human trafficking industry and its role in the casino industry, with a focus on the ways to identify victims, and the steps that must be taken to help end this form of modern human slavery.

• “10 Ways to Change the World – #MakeJusticeReal” — Nationally recognized experts on a variety of advocacy issues, including civil rights, gun violence prevention, homelessness and poverty, human rights and more, will share how lawyers can leverage their passion for making a difference to affect change and inform the national discourse.

• “Putting ICE on Ice?” — In the past two years, the presence and activities of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in state courthouses has been controversial. Panelists will discuss how immigration enforcement has interfered with state-court proceedings and the measures taken to maintain the independence of the courts, including specific actions some courts and state legislatures have taken to exclude ICE from conducting enforcement at state courthouses and proceedings.

• “How American Women Can Change the World” — Author Marianne Williamson discusses female power and contribution and its role in how American women are transforming U.S. society.

• “Better to Be Rich & Guilty? How Implicit Socio-Economic Bias Influences Outcomes of Judicial Bias” — A panel of judges, lawyers and noted academics will examine the role of socio-economic bias in the justice system and offer research-based strategies to identify and mitigate the problem on a personal and systemic level for more equitable system outcomes.

• “The Rising Tide of Hate:  How Welcoming the Stranger in a Nation of Immigrants Has Turned Violent” — A panel will examine the rise in American nationalism and xenophobia that has led to anti-immigrant rhetoric, intensified immigration enforcement and incidents such as the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

• “New Release: ABA Update Report on Reforming the U.S. Immigration System” — As the nation’s immigration courts and other adjudicative systems face untenable backlogs and growing concerns about due process and independence, the ABA will release an update to its 2010 report on the U.S. immigration system, highlighting necessary legislative action for vital systemic reform. 

• “The Resurgence of Racism in the Age of ‘Making America Great Again:’ The Role of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Lawyer in Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Modern America” — Experts will lead a  discussion of the realities of “living while black” in today’s America, exploring the origins of the modern-day injustices, including: assaults on voting rights; educational inequities; the weaponization of law enforcement; macro- and micro-aggressions; and the policing of everyday actions.

• “Conversion Therapy: Laws, Policy, Advocacy and Awareness in the United States and Beyond” — A panel will discuss laws, policy and advocacy work surrounding LGBT conversion therapy.