Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar; and Clinical Professor of Law at Penn State Law in University Park. Her research focuses on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and the intersections of race, national security and immigration. She has published more than thirty law review articles, book chapters and essays on immigration law. Her work has been published in Duke Law Journal, Emory Law Journal, Texas Law Review, Washington and Lee Law Review, Harvard Latino Law Review, Administrative Law Review, and Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Wadhia has published two books with New York University Press: Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases (2015) and Banned: Immigration Enforcement in the Time of Trump (2019). Wadhia is the author of Immigration and Nationality Law: Problems and Solutions, with Steve Yale-Loehr and Lenni Benson, published by Carolina Academic Press in 2019.
Wadhia is the inaugural Editor-In-Chief of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Law Journal, a partnership between AILA and Fastcase. In 2019, she served as the Enlund Scholar In Residence at DePaul University School of Law. Her scholarship has been cited in numerous law journals and by federal appellate court judges, including Judge Richard Posner (article on deferred action), Judge Paul J. Watford (article on the role of discretion in speed deportation), and Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw (“See generally” citation to book Beyond Deportation).
In 2019, Wadhia testified before Congress on the historical role of prosecutorial discretion and deferred action in immigration cases. She regularly authors opinion pieces on a range of immigration topics, and has published such pieces in the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hill, blog for the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS Blog), blog of the Harvard Law Review, American Constitution Society, American Immigration Council, Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice & Comment, and Immigration Law Professors Blog. She has also served as an expert witness, lead author or co-counsel in connection with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the asylum ban, the travel ban, and prosecutorial discretion more generally.
At Penn State Law, Professor Wadhia teaches doctrinal courses in immigration and asylum and refugee law. She is also the founder/director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (CIRC), where she supervises students in three areas: 1) community outreach; 2) legal support in individual immigration cases; and 3) policy work for institutional clients. CIRC has earned a national reputation for its high-quality work product and impact in the community. 2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of CIRC. CIRC was honored with the Excellence in Legal Advocacy Award in 2017 by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and named legal organization of the year in 2019 by the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.
Wadhia has received many local and national awards for her scholarship, teaching, and service, including Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 2003, leadership awards by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of the Inspector General in 2008, 2017 Honoree by the National Immigration Project, Arnold Addison Award for Town and Gown Relations by the Borough of State College in 2019, and the 2019 Elmer Friend Excellence in Teaching Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In 2020, Wadhia won the university-wide Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award and was named a Fastcase 50 Awardee, which honors 50 of "the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, & leaders."
Prior to joining Penn State, Professor Wadhia was deputy director for legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C. She has also been an associate with Maggio Kattar, P.C. in Washington, D.C., where she handled asylum, deportation, family, and employment-based immigration benefits matters.
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