Professor David Martin Honored for Decades of Immigration Law Scholarship

David Martin

David Martin, the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law, has served the Law School for 35 years.

November 4, 2015

University of Virginia School of Law professor David Martin was honored last week with the Excellence in International Migration Scholarship Award by the Center for Migration Studies of New York City.

Martin, the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law at UVA, has served the Law School for 35 years and helped shape immigration and refugee policy as an academic and by serving in several key U.S. government posts. He has published numerous books and scholarly articles, including a leading casebook on immigration and citizenship law, now in its seventh edition.

Martin's scholarship has been informed by his government service. He was the principal deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security from January 2009 to December 2010, including serving four months as acting general counsel, and was general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1995 to 1998. He has also served in posts at the Justice and State Departments. In April, Martin was appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The award presentation, held Oct. 28, was highlighted by video remarks from two of Martin's colleagues, with whom he has worked closely for many years.

Janet Napolitano '83, who was secretary of Homeland Security during Martin's tenure at the department, was also a student in the first section Martin taught at UVA Law.

"My time at Virginia marked the beginning of my training in law and public service, and I can't think of a better mentor than Dave in those early years," Napolitano said.

Professor Hiroshi Motomura of UCLA, who collaborated with Martin on their widely used immigration law casebook "Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy," called him a "guiding light" on the book and other projects.

"You have an enormous, unique range of vision, you have the courage to ask the essential and the hard questions, and you always brought to bear on this the intellectual and analytical precision that allows us to find the best answers," Motomura said.

Throughout Martin's roles in government, he has been closely involved in critical legal and policy developments in the immigration field, including the Refugee Act of 1980, a major alteration of U.S. asylum procedures in 1995, implementation of the 1996 statutory amendments to the immigration laws, Obama administration reforms of enforcement priorities and the detention system used in connection with immigration removal proceedings, and the federal government's 2010 lawsuit against Arizona's restrictive immigration enforcement law.

A graduate of DePauw University and Yale Law School, Martin served on the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law and the International Migration Review. After law school, he clerked for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit and with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.

The Center for Migration Studies is an educational institute and think tank devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. The center works with experts, such as policymakers and scholars, and enjoys consultative status at the United Nations.

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