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Essay by Associate Dean Romero on Christian love and immigration reform selected for republication


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Immigration and Nationality Law Review has selected an article by Victor Romero, Penn State Law’s associate dean of academic affairs, for republication in its yearly anthology of seminal law review articles on immigration, nationality, and citizenship.

The essay, “The Prodigal Illegal: Christian Love and Immigration Reform,” was originally published in the Denver Law Review in 2015.

In the introduction to the piece, Romero writes: “Despite the impasse around immigration reform, most everyone believes the United States’ immigration system is broken. And most agree that the key issue is what to do with the 11 million or so undocumented persons currently residing in the United States. As a Christian immigration law teacher, I have been interested in the debate among the churches as to what such reform should look like. In this Article, I use Professor Jeffrie Murphy’s conception of agapic love as a lens through which to examine reform proposals.  I then evaluate the two positions Christian churches have seemed to embrace—permanent legal status on the one hand, full citizenship on the other—from both a gospel and legal perspective. To aid my analysis from the Christian perspective, I turn to Dr. Timothy Keller’s interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son; from the legal perspective, I examine the lived experiences of those subject to our current deportation laws. I argue that a thick conception of agapic, neighborly love requires embracing a pathway to citizenship as the only available reform option.”

This is the eighth of Romero’s law review articles to be selected for republication. The most recent piece selected was entitled “A Meditation on Moncrieffe: on Marijuana, Misdemeanants, and Migration,” published in the Gonzaga Law Review in 2014 and reprinted in that year’s edition of the Immigration and Nationality Law Review.

Romero’s research emphasizes the law's impact on marginalized groups. He is especially interested in borders and boundaries—both legal and cultural—and how these function. An elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI), Romero has written two books, co-edited a three-volume anthology, and published over 30 law review articles, book chapters, and essays. In addition to serving as associate dean, he is also the Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar and a professor of law.

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