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Immigration and employment issues create "immployment" law

Kate GriffithA hybrid known as "immployment" law is emerging from the growing proportion of immigrants in the U.S. labor force and from immigration law enforcement increasingly entering the workplace.

"Recent trends in immigration demand that we consider how immigration and employment law relate to each other," said Kate Griffith, ILR's Proskauer Assistant Professor of Employment and Labor Law.

"Despite their origins as independent legal regimes, there is a long and intensifying relationship between our nation's immigration and employment policies," she said.

"Courts are increasingly confronting questions raised by a growing number of state and local immigration laws that deal with the workplace," Griffith said.

"In effect, these state and local governments are legislating in the immployment law area. I argue, therefore, that we should use an immployment law analysis to evaluate the constitutionality of these laws," she said.

Griffith discussed the relationship between immigration and employment laws during a presentation at the Proskauer Law Firm in Manhattan earlier this fall.

Part of her role as the first holder of the Proskauer Professorship is to present a lecture at least once a year at the firm.

"This helps get my research out there to people actually doing the work and practicing employment law," she said.

The professorship, the first at ILR for an assistant professor, was established in 2010 by the firm. More than 30 of its partners and associates are Cornell University graduates.

On Oct. 20, Proskauer partner Allan Weitzman '70, Law '73 will share his expertise on employment discrimination law with Griffith's "Introduction to Labor and Employment Law" class.

Griffith, as the Proskauer chair holder, will teach an elective course cross-listed by ILR and the Cornell Law School. "Migrants and the Law of the Workplace" begins in the 2012-13 academic year.

A faculty fellow this year at the Immigration Project of Cornell's Institute for the Social Sciences, Griffith organized a panel this month entitled "Undocumented Workers: Crossing the Borders of Immigration and Workplace Law." More information about the event can be seen at http://www.socialsciences.cornell.edu/1013/Labor_Immigration.html.

In a paper published in May by the "Yale Law & Policy Review," Griffith described state and local employer-sanctioned laws that might conflict with Congress’s intent to promote federal employment policy as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act.

More about "'Immployment' Law: The Constitutionality of Subfederal Immigration Regulation at Work," can be seen at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1853608.

Related destination: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept11/ISSimmigration.html.