April 20, 2018

Thursday, April 19 - Cardozo’s Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic welcomed Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who served under President Obama from 2013-2017.

Secretary Johnson also served as Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1989 to 1991. From 1998 to 2001, he was General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force under President Bill Clinton. Currently, he is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

As Secretary of DHS he oversaw all aspects of federal immigration policy and was integral to the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which continues to serve to shelter immigrants who were brought here as children, from deportation. 

During Secretary Johnson’s tenure he sought to significantly expand that program to include millions of adult immigrants with US citizen children—a program known as DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. That program was never implemented because of legal challenges and has been abandoned by the current Administration. “One of my major disappointments while in office was not getting DAPA off the ground,” he commented. Johnson also spoke about the history and structure of the Department of Homeland Security and its connections to the other branches of government.

Secretary Johnson’s work during the Obama administration and his outspoken support for DACA in recent months is reflective of the values and goals of Cardozo’s own Immigration Justice Clinic, which continuously and tirelessly represents immigrants in danger of deportation who fear for their lives.

The students and faculty at Cardozo have been actively engaged in these same issues. The Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic sent Professor Lindsay Nash and clinic students to the Dilley, Texas family detention center to represent women and children in their credible fear interviews during two separate trips in 2017, during which Cardozo students spent hours providing legal counsel and help for the women at the detention center.

The Clinic was also active in the immediate response to the Muslim travel ban in early 2017. Clinic Director Peter Markowitz mobilized students and faculty at Kennedy airport, where they helped prevent five detainees from being sent back on flights to their countries of origin.