Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Prof. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Clinical Professor of Law, and Director, Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic, The Pennsylvania State University

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar; and Clinical Professor of Law at Penn State Law in University Park. Her research focuses on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and the intersections of race, national security, and immigration. Her work has been published in numerous law journals, including Duke Law Journal, Emory Law Journal, Texas Law Review, Washington and Lee Law Review, Harvard Latino Law Review, Administrative Law Review, Howard Law Journal, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, and Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Wadhia is the author of two award-winning books with New York University Press: Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases (2015) and Banned: Immigration Enforcement in the Time of Trump (2019). She is also the author of Immigration and Nationality Law: Problems and Solutions, (w. Steve Yale-Loehr and Lenni Benson), published by Carolina Academic Press.

Wadhia’s scholarship has been cited in dozens of law journals and by numerous federal circuit courts, including Judge Richard Posner (article on deferred action), Judge Paul J. Watford (article on the role of discretion in speed deportation), and Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw (“See generally” citation to book Beyond Deportation), Judge Julius N. Richardson (co-authored article and Chevron deference and immigration), and Judge Andrew S. Oldham (co-authored article on Chevron deference and immigration). She serves as the inaugural Editor-In-Chief of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Law Journal, a partnership between AILA and Fastcase. In 2019, she served as the Enlund Scholar In Residence at DePaul University School of Law. In 2019, Wadhia testified before Congress on the historical role of prosecutorial discretion and deferred action in immigration cases.

Wadhia has written or been quoted by numerous media outlets, including New York Times, USA TodayLos Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Hill, SCOTUS blog, blog of the Harvard Law Review, American Constitution Society, Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice & Comment, and Immigration Law Professors Blog. She has also served as an expert witness, lead author, or co-counsel in connection with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the asylum ban, the travel ban, and prosecutorial discretion more generally.

At Penn State Law, Professor Wadhia teaches doctrinal courses in immigration and asylum and refugee law. She is also the founder/director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (CIRC), where she supervises students in three areas: 1) community outreach; 2) legal support in individual immigration cases; and 3) policy work for institutional clients. CIRC has earned a national reputation for its high-quality work product and impact in the community. 2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of CIRC. CIRC was honored with the Excellence in Legal Advocacy Award in 2017 by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and named legal organization of the year in 2019 by the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.

Prior to joining Penn State, Professor Wadhia was deputy director for legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C., where she provided legal and policy expertise on multiple legislative efforts, including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, comprehensive immigration reform, immigration enforcement, and immigration policy post 9-11. Wadhia has also been an associate with the immigration law firm, Maggio Kattar of P.C. in Washington, D.C., where she represented individuals and families in asylum, deportation, family, and employment-based immigration.

Wadhia has received many awards for her scholarship, teaching, and service, including Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 2003, leadership awards by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of the Inspector General in 2008, 2017 Honoree by the National Immigration Project, Arnold Addison Award for Town and Gown Relations by the Borough of State College in 2019, and the 2019 Elmer Friend Excellence in Teaching Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In 2020, Wadhia received the university-wide Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award and was named a Fastcase 50 Awardee, which honors 50 of “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, & leaders.”


A person listed as a contributor has spoken or otherwise participated in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations. A person's appearance on this list does not imply any other endorsement or relationship between the person and the Federalist Society. In most cases, the biographical information on a person's "contributor" page is provided directly by the person, and the Federalist Society does not edit or otherwise endorse that information. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues. All expressions of opinion by a contributor are those of the contributor.