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From 9/11 to the Trump Era: Reflections on 15 Years of ACLU Advocacy for Immigrants

Tuesday, January 30, 2018,

  • Location: Vanderbilt Law School - Flynn Auditorium

Please join the George Barrett Social Justice Program in welcoming Ahilan Arulanantham as the 2017-18 George Barrett Distinguished Practitioner in Residence. Reflecting on his own family history and his career at the ACLU, Ahilan will discuss lessons learned from his work representing immigrants for the last 15 years. Among other topics, he will discuss his experiences with individuals detained in New York after 9/11, his litigation on behalf of Central American children, and his advocacy on behalf of detained immigrants at the Supreme Court.

Ahilan Arulanantham is director of advocacy/legal director at the ACLU of Southern California. Ahilan has successfully litigated a number of cases to protect the rights of immigrants and minority communities against government oppression. During his tenure at ACLU SoCal, he has successfully litigated several landmark cases, including Nadarajah v. Gonzales, the first Ninth Circuit case establishing limits on the government’s power to detain immigrants as national security threats; Rodriguez v. Robbins, which required the government to provide bond hearings to thousands of immigration detainees; and Franco v. Holder, the first case to establish a right to appointed legal representation for any group of immigrants facing deportation, which required the federal government to provide legal representation to mentally ill immigrants.

Prior to joining the ACLU SoCal in 2004, Ahilan was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in El Paso, Texas for two years. Before that, he was an Equal Justice Works/NAPIL fellow at the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project in New York. Ahilan is a former law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a graduate of Yale Law School, and a graduate of Oxford University. In 2016, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship.

Lunch will be provided.