News & Events

Bridging the Scientific-Legal Divide in the Treatment of Trauma in Immigration
Friday, September 23, 2022 at 9:00am to 4:00pm
Cornell Law School Room L28, Zhu Faculty Workshop Room

You’re invited to a hybrid event featuring distinguished scholar-practitioners of medicine, psychiatry, and law, all working to improve our understanding of how we document, adjudicate and treat migrant trauma as part of immigration proceedings. Four panels will examine topics such as the intersection of psychology and law for child asylum seekers and the use of forensic assessments in deportation defense. Over lunch the Workshop will feature Keynote Speaker Juan E. Méndez, Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence and Faculty Director, Anti-Torture Initiative, Washington College of Law, American University, and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

This is a great event for anyone who is interested in medical-legal research, human rights, and migration.

Learn more.

March 28, 2022 – “I sat across a group of Haitians at a small restaurant in Tijuana, La Antigüita Tamales. King Hall students had just finished legal consultations with them about their prospects for asylum in the U.S. We shared a meal and greeted each other as they talked amongst themselves in Creole. One of them asked me in good Spanish if I was with the group from the U.S. I nodded. Next week they will open the border, he said, and I will seek asylum. I smiled meekly and engaged him with his story.” Please read Professor Aldana’s full reflection on her trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with U.C. Davis School of Law students.

February 24, 2022 – This spring, as part of Professor Raquel E. Aldana’s “Humanizing Deportation Practicum,” she will lead a group of UC Davis law students to Tijuana, Mexico. This practicum will focus on student’s investigation, research, interviewing and client counseling skills. The course is an outgrowth of the UC Davis “Humanizing Deportation Project,” an interdisciplinary storytelling project that has catalogued over 200 stories of deported individuals throughout Mexico. Students will review the stories in the archive, research possible forms of immigration relief for deported individuals, and identify possible candidates for legal screening. In addition, students will consider possible avenues of relief for transit migrants or other Mexican nationals hoping to seek asylum in the United States. After an in-depth training, students will travel to Tijuana, Mexico to provide legal consultations to either deported individuals or transit migrants to identify whether any of them have any possibility of returning or entering the U.S. You can read Professor Aldana’s full course syllabus here and view Professor Robert Irwin’s briefing presentation for the law students in advance of their trip to Tijuana here.

Professor Aldana will write a short article reflecting on her trip upon her return in early April.

January 27, 2022 – Research collaborator, Patrick Marius Koga, along with colleagues, Suad Joseph, Osama Tanous, and Nadine Hosny, published their article, “Whose Trauma? De-Colonizing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Refugee Mental Health Frameworks,” in the Harvard Medical School Primary Care Review. Please read the article here.

June 23, 2021 – Raquel E. Aldana, “Two Days at the Nogales Border,” UC Davis School of Law Faculty Blog [Cross-posted from ImmigrationProf Blog] Revised edition posted June 24, 2021.

Past Events

Latina & Latino Critical Legal Theory (LatCrit), 21st Biennial Conference, “Trauma as Exclusion: Trauma as Inclusion”

Friday, October 8, 2021
The team presented the current status of our project at the LatCrit conference with additional insight by Alea Skwara, Ph.D. Candidate, Psychology. You can view our presentation slides here.

UC Davis Global Migration Center, “Bridging the Legal-Scientific Divide in Immigration Forensic Assessments

Thursday, April 29, 2021
The team presented the current status of our project, introducing the audience to the distinct ways that trauma is understood across disciplines and across cultures. You can view our PowerPoint here.

Skills Development Workshop – Crisis Intervention with Asylum Seekers – Tips, Tools & Advice for Helpers

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 2:00 – 4:00PM EST or Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 10:00AM – 12:00PM EST

For those who work with asylum seekers, it’s more often a question of when a client will experience a crisis as opposed to if.

Appropriate for both professional and paraprofessional audiences, this workshop will give participants gain greater insight into their role in a crisis situation, teach helpful tools and techniques, and offer a practical framework proven to help asylum seekers plan and problem-solve their way out of crisis during COVID and beyond.

$240 per seat for this interactive virtual workshop. Click here to secure your spot, limited to 25 participants. Questions? Contact

Asylum algorithms: Unpacking USCIS’s plan to use AI to prescreen asylum applications

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 7:00PM
Public · Hosted by NorCal Resist
Summary: In this presentation, Jeremy Rud will give an overview of USCIS’s plan to use “text analytics to look for boilerplate language” to detect “fraud” in asylum applications, a function of the Asylum Vetting Center currently in development. By comparing human and algorithmic readings of a group of asylum narratives, he will raise several concerns about this practice from linguistic, policy, and human rights perspectives.