Huyen Pham

University Distinguished Professor


Huyen Pham

“We often think of law as a set of prohibitions or restrictions. But a fair, well-functioning legal system is really the foundation for the freedoms we enjoy.”

Get to Know Huyen Pham

What drew you to the law?

Like a lot of kids, I was advised — in jest, I hope — to channel my argumentative nature toward law. But law is so much more than just making arguments. A good lawyer is also a problem solver; the problem may be specific to one client or it may be a more pervasive one affecting society. I like that the law gives us a structure for resolving conflict and an opportunity to think about fairness and equity.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love the interaction with the students. Teaching law is very dynamic; we discuss cases, statutes, different interpretations of the law, and the policy implications of it all. Students bring their different perspectives and life experiences into the law school classroom, and the resulting discussion is a great learning experience for all of us.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

Law is complex, so I hope my students gain the skills needed to understand and find answers within the law. For example, in my immigration law class, we spend a lot of time doing problems that apply the Immigration and Nationality Act (the main statute in immigration law). I want students to both understand the substance of the Act and to develop excellent statutory analysis skills.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

I really enjoy spending time with our two daughters, who are funny, thoughtful, and just great kids. I am also passionate about my work in Vietnam (where I was born). I spent 2010-2011 teaching at a Vietnamese law school through the U.S. Fulbright Scholar program and return to teach in the summers; I also work with a non-profit that supports development projects in rural Vietnam.

What are your research interests?

My scholarship focuses on immigration law and the changing enforcement roles for the federal government, local governments and private parties. My most recent project, working with Professor Pham Hoang Van (an economist at Baylor University), measures the immigration climates created when states, counties and cities enact laws regulating immigrants within their jurisdictions.


Link to my publications.


Presentations are listed on my CV.


  • Subfederal enforcement of immigration law
  • Economic impact of immigration
  • Federal agencies and procedures
  • Refugees and migration


  • Immigration Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Refugee & Asylum Law

Academic Experience

  • Associate Dean for Faculty Research & Development
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2021-​Fall 2023)
  • Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2013-present)
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2013-2016)
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development
    Texas Wesleyan School of Law (2012-2013)
  • Professor of Law (2008-2013)
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
  • Associate Professor of Law (2006-2008)
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
  • Associate Professor of Law
    University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law (2004-2006)


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude
  • A.B. in Social Studies, Harvard College, magna cum laude

Awards / Honors

  • University Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University, 2023
  • 2021 Texas A&M Chancellor’s Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellow
  • Association of Former Students (AFS) Distinguished Achievement Award, 2021
  • Elected Member, American Law Institute (ALI), 2019
  • Russel Sage Foundation Research Grant recipient, 2019-2020
  • Texas A&M University and the Women Former Students' Network Eminent Scholar Award, 2018
  • Global Engagement Grant recipient, 2018-2021
  • U.S. Fulbright Scholar
  • Echoing Green Public Service Fellow

Other Professional Activities

  • Immigration Law Section (chair 2016-2017), American Association of Law Schools
  • Conference on Asian Pacific American Law Faculty
  • Immigration Law Initiative (faculty advisor)
  • Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association (faculty advisor)
  • Hong Bang (past board member)