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ILR's Griffith: Immigration and employment create 'immployment' law

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Joe Schwartz

A hybrid known as "immployment" law is emerging from the growing number of immigrants in the U.S. labor force and immigration law enforcement.

Kate Griffith, the ILR School's Proskauer Assistant Professor of Employment and Labor Law, discussed the relationship between immigration and employment laws during a presentation at the Proskauer Rose LLP law firm in Manhattan Sept. 12.

"Recent trends in immigration demand that we consider how immigration and employment law relate to each other," Griffith said. "Despite their origins as independent legal regimes, there is a long and intensifying relationship between our nation's immigration and employment policies. Courts are increasingly confronting questions raised by a growing number of state and local immigration laws that deal with the workplace."

She continued, "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 will teach an elective course, Migrants and the Law of the Workplace, cross-listed by ILR and the Cornell Law School, in the 2012-13 academic year.

A faculty fellow at Cornell's Institute for the Social Sciences' immigration project, Griffith organized a panel this month titled "Undocumented Workers: Crossing the Borders of Immigration and Workplace Law."

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

The Proskauer Employment and Labor Law Assistant Professorship was established in 2010 by the law firm for an ILR assistant professor who engages in scholarly work in employment law, labor law, employee benefits, compensation, conflict resolution and/or collective bargaining.

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