Fatma Marouf

Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic



“Immigration and the international refugee crisis are among the most pressing human rights issues of our time. We need lawyers who are creative problem-solvers and who can connect local concerns to global developments.”

Get to Know Fatma Marouf

What drew you to the law?

My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt and Turkey, and, at a young age, I was exposed to the enormous economic and social disparities in our world. I was initially pre-med, but my interest in human rights eventually drew me to law school. I wanted to learn to use law as a tool to empower people and create social change. My approach to law remains very interdisciplinary, drawing on science, social psychology, and the humanities.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I love seeing students light up when they are excited by new ideas, begin to unravel the complexities of an issue that at first appeared black and white, and confront new perspectives that make them question their preconceived notions. It’s an honor to be able to help students discover their passions and cultivate their gifts in their journey through life. Teaching also challenges me to deepen my own understanding, find innovative ways to engage and inspire, and practice compassion.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

I hope students will learn how to approach real-life problems, identify gaps and gray areas in the law, and craft sound policy arguments. In the Immigrant Rights Clinic, students learn that they can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Beyond teaching how to litigate in court, handle complex appeals, and engage in impact advocacy, I seek to instill a lifelong commitment to pro bono or public interest work.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

Before entering academia, I worked as a staff attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance, clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in the Central District of California, and practiced immigration law in Los Angeles, focusing particularly on asylum, deportation defense, and federal appeals.

What are you passionate about outside the law?

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling the world, hiking, and sundry artistic endeavors.

What are your research interests?

My scholarship explores the intersections of immigration law, international human rights law, and constitutional law. Some of my recent projects have examined the rights of mentally incompetent individuals in removal proceedings, the exclusion of DREAMers from the Affordable Care Act, and community-based alternatives to immigration detention. I also engage in empirical research to expand our understanding of judicial decision-making and implicit bias in immigration appeals.


Link to my publications.


Presentations are listed on my CV.


  • Immigration Law
  • Refugee Law
  • International Human Rights Law


  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Immigrant Rights Clinic

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2016-present)
  • Associate Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Immigration Clinic
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law (2010-2016)
    (voted for tenure and promotion to Full Professor in 2016)


  • Master of Public Health, Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude
  • B.A. in English, Yale University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Awards / Honors

  • Faculty Opportunity Award, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with Professors Rebecca Gill and Michael Kagan (2015-2016)
  • Bellow Scholar, awarded for empirical research that promotes access to justice (2012-2014)
  • UNLV Academic Achievement Gala, recognized in the categories of “innovation” and “collaboration” (2014)
  • Clinical Legal Education Association, Honorable Mention for the CLEA Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project for UNLV Immigration Clinic’s Immigration Detention Project (2014)

Other Professional Activities

  • Consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2015-2016)
  • Significant legal cases include:
    • Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I. & N. Dec. 388 (BIA 2014) (establishing a precedent that domestic violence can be the basis for a grant of asylum) (amicus)
    • Matter of M-E-V-G-, 26 I. & N. Dec. 227 (BIA 2014) (clarifying the meaning of a “particular social group” for asylum) (amicus)
    • Henriquez-Rivas v. Holder, 707 F.3d 1081, 1083 (9th 2013) (en banc) (holding, inter alia, that a “particular social group” does not require literal visibility for purposes of asylum) (amicus)
    • Cole v. Holder, 659 F.3d 762 (9th Cir. 2011) (holding that the intentional denial of medical care may constitute torture, and courts must consider the aggregate risk of torture) (attorney of record)
    •  Miguel-Miguel v. Gonzales, 500 F.3d 941 (9th Cir. 2007) (prohibiting retroactive application of the presumption that a drug trafficking offense with a sentence of less than five years constitutes a “particularly serious crime”) (attorney of record)
  • AALS Clinical Section, Committee on Lawyering in the Public Interest (2012-present).
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Detention and Removal Committee (2008-2009)
  • Board Member, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter (2008-2010)
  • Board Member, Highlander Research and Education Center (2003-2009)