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Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar
Clinical Professor of Law  
Director, Center for Immigrants' Rights

SSRN Profile
Curriculum Vitae

(814) 865-3823

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
B.A., Indiana University, with honors

Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is an expert on immigration law and one of the nation’s leading scholars on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. Her scholarship in this area has served as a foundation for scholars, advocates, and government officials seeking to understand or design a strong prosecutorial discretion policy. Her work identifies the historical role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law, the extent to which some acts of discretion operate as a benefit, and the dynamic role and need for transparency, sound procedures, and accountability. Her work has been published by Columbia Journal of Race and Law, Harvard Latino Law Review, Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Texas Law Review, Howard Law Journal, among others. Her book, Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases, was published by New York University Press in 2015.

At Penn State Law, Wadhia teaches doctrinal courses in immigration and asylum and refugee law. She is also the founder/director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, where students produce practitioner toolkits, white papers, and primers of national impact on behalf of client organizations.  Clients have included the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First, Kids in Need of Defense, the National Guestworker Alliance, National Immigrant Justice Center, among others. At the Center, students also provide community outreach and education on immigration topics and legal support in individual cases of immigrants challenging deportation (removal). The Center also conducts group rights presentations for immigration detainees held at the Clinton County Jail.​

Wadhia has appeared on national television and radio stations, including MSNBC and C-SPAN and has been quoted or featured by international, national, and local publications, including The Hill, National Law Journal, Washington Post, NBC News, Associated Press, and The Economist Blog, among others.   

Prior to joining Penn State, Professor Wadhia was deputy director for legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C. She has been honored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and in 2003, she was named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. She has also been an associate with Maggio Kattar, P.C. in Washington, D.C., where she handled asylum, deportation, and employment-based immigration benefits matters.



Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases (New York University Press)
Immigration Prosecutorial Discretion: Selected Biography and Works

Law Reviews

"Demystifying Work Authorization and Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases," Colum. J. Race & L. 1 (forthcoming)

 The History of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law,” Amer Univ L. Rev. Vol 64.5 (2015).​

The Rise of Speed Deportation and the Role of Discretion,” 5 Colum. J. Race & L. 1 (2015).

Immigration Remarks for the 10th Annual Wiley A. Branton Symposium,” Vol. 57 No. 3 HOW. L.J. (2014).

My Great FOIA Adventure and Discoveries of Deferred Action Cases at ICE,” 27 Geo. Immig. L.J. (2013).

In Defense of DACA, Deferred Action, and the DREAM Act,” 91 Texas L. Rev. SEE ALSO 59  (2013).

The Immigration Prosecutor and the Judge: Examining the Role of the Judiciary in Prosecutorial Discretion Decisions,” 16 Harv. Latino L. Rev.  39 (2013).

Sharing Secrets: Examining Deferred Action and Transparency in Immigration Law,” 10 U. N. H. L. Rev. 1 (2012).

Business As Usual: Immigration and the National Security Exception,” 114 Penn State L. Rev. 1485 (2010).

The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law,” 9 Connecticut Pub. Int. L. J. 243 (2010) (reprinted in Immigration and Nationality Law Review, William S. Hein & Co.).

Under Arrest: Immigrants’ Rights and the Rule of Law,” 38 U. Memphis L. Rev. 853 (2008).

The Policy and Politics of Immigrant Rights,” 16 Temple Pol. & Civil Rts. L. Rev. 387 (2007).

Immigration: Mind Over Matter,” 5 U. Md. L. J. on Race, Religion, Gender & Class 201 (2006).

Book Chapters and Essays

American Immigration Lawyers Association, The Long and Winding Road of Prosecutorial Discretion, Practice Advisory (w. L. Wildes and P. Taurel) (2015)

"Immigration Law’s Catch-22: The Case for Removing the Three and Ten-Year Bars,” in LexisNexis Legal Newsroom Immigration Law  (LexisNexis, November 2014).

Reflections on Prosecutorial Discretion One Year After the Morton Memo,” in Emerging Issues Analysis (LexisNexis, June 2012).

“Who are the Players in Immigration Law?” in What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law  (American Bar Association 2012).

Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Agencies: A Year in Review,” in Emerging Issues Analysis (LexisNexis, January 2012).

The Term Illegal Alien,” in Debates on U.S. Immigration, (Sage Publications, 2012).

Immigration Policy Center, The Morton Memo and Prosecutorial Discretion: An Overview, (July 2011).

Immigration Policy Center, American Immigration Council, Reading the Morton Memo: Federal Priorities and Prosecutorial Discretion, (December 2010).

"Letter to Lahore," The Subcontinental Vol. 1, Issue 3 (2004) (with Sin Yen Ling).

Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, Immigration Policy: Transition Blueprint for the Obama Administration, (2008) (contributor).


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