6th Annual John L. Gedid Lecture Focuses on Immigration Law
Harrisburg Web Correspondent - Published: March 30, 2012
University of California – Davis School of Law Professor Gabriel “Jack” Chin delivered the 6th Annual John L. Gedid Lecture on Monday, March 26, 2012 on Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus. His talk, “State Assistance (Interference?) in the Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law,” looked at state and federal enforcement of immigration law in light of Arizona’s controversial immigration law that is set to be challenged in the United States Supreme Court.

Widener Law implemented the John L. Gedid lecture series five years ago to honor Professor Gedid, who has been a leading figure on the Harrisburg campus since it opened in 1989, and who serves as director of the campus’ signature Law & Government Institute. The lecture series showcases the work of nationally recognized young scholars much in the same way that Professor Gedid has fostered, encouraged, and applauded the work of those who joined the school he helped found.

Dean Linda L. Ammons opened the lecture with praise of Professor Gedid, noting the work he did in helping to found the Harrisburg campus and that he served as the first Vice Dean as well. Associate Professor Michael R. Dimino, Sr. then presented Professor Gedid with the traditional gift of a brochure signed by Chin, and his wife, Carol, received flowers and chocolates.

Professor Dimino then introduced Professor Chin, who started his talk by explaining the four issues currently before the Supreme Court, which include: 1) The requirement, when lawfully detained, that police may check with the federal government to see if a person is in the United States lawfully; 2) Allowing state and local police to arrest for civil immigration violations; 3) Arizona law states it is a crime to work in Arizona as an illegal alien and 4) Arizona law also states that it is a violation to live in Arizona without registering with the government.

The 9th Circuit previously held all four unconstitutional provisions were unconstitutional. Chin argued that the states have no power to regulate immigration law and that is what he believes the Supreme Court will rule when the decision comes out.

Mr. Chin stated, “When dealing with immigration, necessarily and intrinsically you are dealing with foreign policy and national security and that has to be done at the federal level. One of the problems in practice with state efforts to regulate immigration has been that they are often moved to do so when they are angry about something or upset at the behavior or conduct of another country, and that doesn’t work well for the measure appropriate legislation.”

Professor Chin, who earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and an LL.M. at Yale Law School, has written extensively in the field of immigration law. He co-authored “The Unconstitutionality of State Regulation of Immigration Through Criminal Law,” which was published in the Duke Law Journal last year and was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court five times in an opinion.