Recent events regarding the global economic crisis have eclipsed most of the issues that defined the presidential primaries. One of the topics that polarized candidates in both parties was immigration.

The West Virginia University College of Law hopes to refocus attention on this issue during a panel discussion at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 17, in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom. Nationally recognized experts on immigration law will define how the nation moves forward with regard to human rights, homeland security, international relations and economic survival. The forum is free and open to the public.

James J. Friedberg , the Hale J.&Roscoe P. Posten Professor of Law at the College of Law , will serve as moderator. He has recently taught international law, immigration law, international human rights, international trade, European Union law and comparative law. He founded and directs the WVU Immigration Law Clinic.

We are fortunate to bring to WVU a distinguished panel of experts on immigration law,Friedberg said.Their presentations will undoubtedly reflect the special importance of immigration law in this election year. Not only lawyers but all persons concerned about the crisis of immigration in the U.S. should find the discussion incisive and thought-provoking.

The panelists, their topics and backgrounds:

  • Ira Kurzban ,Criminalization of Immigration.Kurzban has a juris doctor and masters degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a partner in the law firm of Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger&Tetzeli of Miami. He is a past national president and former general counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has received national recognition for his work in the immigration field. He has been named one of the top 20 immigration lawyers in the United States by the National Law Journal and one of the top 500 lawyers in the United States by Law Dragon. He has also been listed for a decade in the Best Lawyers in Americafor his work in immigration law.

In 1986, Kurzban was selected by Newsweek in its commemorative issue on the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty as one of 100 American heroes for his work on behalf of immigrants. In 1987, he was named an honorary fellow of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also been named to Whos Who in America, Whos Who in American Law and Whos Who in the World. In 2005, he was named by the International Whos Who of International Corporate Lawyers as one of 23 of the worlds most prominent corporate immigration lawyers. He has also litigated more than 50 federal cases concerning the rights of aliens, including Jean v. Nelson, Commissioner v. Jeanand McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center Inc., which he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kurzban is an adjunct faculty member in immigration and nationality law at the University of Miami School of Law and Nova University School of Law. He has lectured and published extensively in the field of immigration law, including articles in the Harvard Law Review and Columbia University Press ._ He is the author of Kurzbans Immigration Law Sourcebook _, the most widely used one-volume immigration source in the United States.

  • Robert S. Whitehill ,Fact Check: Immigration.Whitehill is a partner with Fox Rothschild, is resident in the firms Pittsburgh office and has focused his practice exclusively on immigration and nationality law for more than two decades. Chair of Fox Rothschilds immigration practice, he serves the immigration needs of individuals and employers, including those skilled and highly trained in the sciences, the arts, medicine, and commerce and industry.

Whitehill is adjunct co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the WVU College of Law. He publishes op-ed pieces on immigration in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Business Times and other publications. His high-profile work representing clients from a broad range of industries and ethnic/cultural backgrounds has been featured in The New York Times and other publications. He serves as editor-in-chief for the firms newsletter, Legally Speaking, which addresses recent changes and updates on immigration law and policy.

His leadership roles in the community have included service as president of the American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter; chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Pittsburgh Chapter; and board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

  • Geoffrey Hoffman ,Detention, Intensive Supervision, and the Immigration Court.Hoffman practices immigration law with Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger&Tetzeli. He specializes in all aspects of immigration court litigation, as well as federal court immigration-related and BIA litigation. His practice most recently has focused on asylum, detention and removal, as well as appellate litigation.

Hoffman previously was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, Tulane Law School and Columbia University. He is the author of several articles for the Nova Law Review, Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review and the New York Law Journal.

  • Paul W. Virtue ,The Gestation of Immigration Reform.Virtue is a partner in the International Trade Group in the Washington, D.C., office of Hogan&Hartson. As a former executive associate commissioner and general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, he was the agencys chief legal officer, providing legal and policy advice to the INS commissioner and senior officials, the attorney general, the White House and other federal agencies on a full range of issues under INS s jurisdiction.

During his tenure with the INS , Virtue testified before Congress on numerous occasions as an authority on immigration law and policy. He participated in drafting the immigration provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement and provided legal advice regarding their implementation. He represented the agency as media spokesperson on numerous complex legal and policy issues. For his efforts in directing the agencys implementation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, he received the U.S. Attorney Generals Distinguished Service Award.

The lecture is supported by the Archibald McDougall Visiting Lectureship in International Law.