Immigrants’ Rights Speakers

  • Lee Gelernt

    ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project

    Mr. Gelernt is a senior staff counsel in the Immigrants’ Rights Project and has been with the Project since 1992. He has litigated numerous impact cases around the country at all levels of the federal court system, including in the United States Supreme Court. Among the cases he has argued are Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft and North Jersey Media Group v. Ashcroft, which involved challenges to the government’s post-September 11 policy of holding secret deportation hearings. Mr. Gelernt has received numerous honors for his civil rights work and in 2002 was the recipient of the13th Annual Public Interest Achievement Award from the Columbia University Public Interest Law Foundation. He has also twice been given the American Immigration Lawyer’s national award for excellence in litigation. Mr. Gelernt is a frequent speaker at law schools and conferences around the country, is regularly quoted in the national and international media, and currently serves on the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute. In addition to his work at the ACLU, Mr. Gelernt is an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, where he has taught immigration law and currently teaches a seminar on civil liberties and terrorism. He is a 1988 graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Notes & Comments Editor of the Law Review, and is a former law clerk to Frank M. Coffin of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

  • Deborah Weissman

    UNC School of Law

    Deborah Weissman joined the faculty of UNC School of Law in 1998 and is presently Professor of Law and Director of the law school’s clinical programs. She has had extensive experience in all phases of legal services advocacy, including labor law and education related civil rights law cases with the Legal Aid Society of Albuquerque, New Mexico (1975 1980), family law and civil rights impact cases with Bay Area Legal Service in Tampa, Florida (1990 1994), and Legal Services of North Carolina, as Deputy Director (1994 1995) and as Executive Director (1996 1998). Weissman was also a partner in the civil rights firm of Heath, Rosenthal and Weissman in Syracuse, NY (1980 1989) and worked on major civil rights litigation, legislative campaigns, and community outreach programs in many areas of law. In 1998, she received the North Carolina Equity s Carpathian Award for Public Service. She served as the Chair of the North Carolina Commission on Domestic Violence between 2000 and 2005. She teaches domestic violence law, civil lawyering process, and the immigration/human rights policy clinic. Professor Weissman has collaborated with the Washington Office on Latin America on issues related to gender violence in Latin America; with Global Rights on the issue of U.S. treaty obligations with regard to the treatment of domestic workers; with a consortium of national criminal justice organizations on the issue of juvenile justice; and with local legal advocates working on immigration issues and human trafficking. Her current research projects include the political economy of gender violence and the relationship between trade laws and policies and immigration. She is the 2005-2006 recipient of the UNC Pro Bono Faculty of the Year award.