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Experts Available: Obama's Immigration Reform Speech at AU

President Barack Obama will deliver a policy speech addressing immigration reform Thursday, July 1, from American University’s new School of International Service.  

AU professors are available to comment on the speech and topics related to immigration reform as well as the Obama administration and politics.

For expert availability and contact information, call AU’s Communications Office at 202-885-5950. Search for these and other AU experts at

Alan Kraut, an expert in immigration history, advises that Obama emulate Abraham Lincoln’s approach to immigration, as it was also a controversial matter during his time. “Lincoln wrote that when it came to a push for his party to adopt an anti-immigrant stand, he ‘should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty,’” said Kraut. Kraut was a consultant for the Office of Homeland Security on the revision of the history and civics part of the Naturalization Exam.  

Law professor Angela Davis is an expert on racism in the criminal justice system and can discuss the discriminatory impact of immigration laws, including the Arizona law.

Christopher Rudolph, author of National Security and Immigration (Stanford University Press, 2006), can discuss the security aspects of immigration and border patrol, the economic implications of immigration, and the politics associated with immigration reform.  

Carolyn Brown is an expert on the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, modern militia groups, and the Latino experience in America. Her film On The Line follows the journey of the Minutemen patrolling the United States’ border with Mexico. Brown is available to do interviews in Spanish.

Robert Pastor, an expert on the relationship between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, says a long-term solution to illegal immigration relies in part on narrowing the income gap between Mexico and its northern neighbors. “Ninety-three percent of undocumented workers have jobs before they leave their home countries,” Pastor said. “They come to the United States seeking higher wages.” Pastor says we also need a better ID system “to deal with undocumented migration, national security threats, electoral integrity, and to combat identify fraud.” Pastor is available to do interviews in Spanish.

William LeoGrande, an expert on Congress and foreign policy and U.S.–Latin American politics and relations, can provide general commentary on immigration and how it impacts Latin America. He has written widely in the field of Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy.  

Elizabeth Keyes with AU’s International Human Rights Law Clinic can address human trafficking, immigration and employment law, and general aspects of immigration reform.

Law professor Janie Chuang can discuss labor migration and human trafficking.

Rita Simon can discuss public opinion of immigration and other general immigration issues.  

Law professor Jamie Raskin can talk about the politics of immigration reform in the 2010 and 2012 elections as well as the details of immigration President Obama makes during his speech.  

Alan Lichtman, a presidential historian, can comment on politics, Civil rights and liberties, American political history and analysis, and public opinion as they relate to immigration reform.  

Diego Rodriquez-Pinzon, codirector of AU’s Academy on Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, can talk about immigration from an international law prospective. He is available to do interviews in Spanish.

Dotty Lynch, Jane Hall, and Leonard Steinhorn can provide insight into the politics and news media coverage of immigration reform.

Law professor Anthony Varona can discuss the general public policy implications and regulatory/administrative impacts of immigration reform. 

Jordan Tama, an expert on foreign policy, can address the presidency, presidential-congressional relations, and politics.

Political expert Curtis Gans can discuss the presidency and politics.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.