Faculty Elizabeth M. Glazer, Associate Professor of Law

Published on August 1, 2012 | by LawNews

Prof. Elizabeth Glazer Considers What ‘Coming Out’ of Immigration Law’s Closet Might Accomplish


What does “coming out” of immigration law’s closet accomplish? From a legal perspective, the answer is: it depends. For some, it could lead to the loss of a job, arrest, detention and — perhaps what many immigrants fear above all else — deportation from the United States. For others, it may lead to discretionary relief from removal (temporary or permanent) and the possibility of adjusting their status to permanent legal resident. The uncertain results that may emerge from the decision to reveal one’s status should not be surprising. Just like any legal case, the context, facts and precedent would shape the outcome.

Importantly, answering this question along legal lines would miss the point that many immigrants and their supporters are trying to make: coming out is about raising consciousness about what it’s like to live in the shadows, to conceal one’s identity. Coming out of the closet provides the opportunity to not only accept one’s true identity but also to gain acceptance and support from one’s family, friends and community. Critically, it is arguably a necessary step toward creating social, cultural and legal change.

Read the full piece at nytimes.com.

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