ILJ4100EN - Immigration and American Law

Course description

Through the use of landmark case law and salient examples from recent immigration reform, this course provides an in-depth study of the immigration, nationality, and naturalization laws of the United States. Students will investigate policy issues relating to migration, refugees, asylum, deportation, and citizenship issues.

How this course benefits students

This course explores the fundamentals of U.S. immigration law beyond the entry-level training in immigration law practice and procedure. It is designed to deepen the proficiency of individuals who intend to serve with "partial accreditation" from the US Office of Legal Access Programs (formerly by the Board of Immigration Appeals) in legal service centers and to prepare individuals seeking "full accreditation" in more complex immigration cases. It is also suitable for attorneys and paralegals entering the field of immigration law.

Why this course is important

Non-lawyers who are recognized by the US Office of Legal Access Programs (formerly by the Board of Immigration Appeals) can practice immigration law on behalf of low-income clients. The foundational course and the Study Beyond course in immigration law give students the overview and initial experience needed for application to OLAP to practice at an OLAP-accredited center. This course will give students additional depth and knowledge to pursue full accreditation.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
International Law & Justice
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Melinda Whitman, Esq., Senior Professor of Criminal Justice

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The Bible will be integrated into the examination of immigration law and the legal process. Students will be challenged to identify and contrast competing Biblical concepts that are at the heart of America's complex (and sometimes contradictory) laws.

Missionally driven

Practitioners in immigration law must deal with real-life issues such as broken families, people fleeing from chaos and violence, dangerous criminals taking advantage of American generosity, and individuals intentionally breaking laws (local and federal). Students will learn to discern where God is at work in the lives of those He is bringing to the US, where Christians have more freedom to share the Gospel. They will also be challenged to see His work where clients are deported, where criminals are denied admission, and where families suffer for many different reasons.

Contextually informed

Students will examine immigration law for use in OLAP-accredited centers, in private law firms, or in non-profit legal centers serving low-income clients. The course will address principles of American policies in legal treatment of foreign nationals, a brief perspective of immigration law in the U.S., ministry to low-income families, and the status of immigration reform in the U.S.

Interculturally focused

Practitioners in immigration law encounter diverse cultures as part of their roles, so any course on immigration law must include training on working with cultural differences in expectations, communication, and practices. The Missional University course, however, will present these encounters as part of God's work in bringing all nations, tribes, and tongues to Himself. Basic missiological concepts will be incorporated into the course so that students will be prepared to assist clients from different cultures and to share the Gospel when given the opportunity.

Practically minded

This is a course in the practical legal skills of researching and applying the correct immigration laws, complying with ethical standards, and representing clients before the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals. At the end of this course and the entry-level immigration course, students should have enough training to practice in a OLAP-accredited center, subject to OLAP approval. Students should develop concepts of how they can use the legal skills to serve in ministry situations and roles.

Experientially transformed

Students will gain experience in the practice of immigration law (researching the law, establishing case goals, and understanding developments in policy and reform). With the entry-level immigration law course, the Study Beyond experience, and this course, students will have the knowledge and experience to function competently as a "partially accredited" legal advocate in an OLAP-accredited center, subject to OLAP approval and to pursue "full accreditation.”