Professor Jaya Ramji-Nogales specializes in immigration law, international law, procedure and process. She currently teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence, Refugee Law and Policy, and the Temple Law Asylum Project. Professor Ramji-Nogales’ research areas include asylum and refugee law, global migration law, and empirical assessment of asylum adjudication.
Professor Ramji-Nogales’ current work in scholarship and in practice focuses on contemporary challenges to asylum and refugee law in the United States. In 2021, along with her Georgetown University co-authors, she published a book entitled The End of Asylum examining the history of the U.S. asylum system, describing the Trump administration’s attempts to destroy that process, and offering suggestions to rebuild our asylum program. She recently published a co-authored article comparing nationality bans in the immigration laws of Israel and the United States, and her work-in-progress examines rhetoric around refugee protection in the United States since the 1980 Refugee Act, with a particular focus on changes to then U.S. refugee protection program since the 2016 election. Along with her dedicated and talented students and their partners at the Washington Office on Latin America, Professor Ramji-Nogales created the Temple Law Asylum Project, which provides tailored country conditions research to support asylum seekers and their lawyers.
Professor Ramji-Nogales also writes on global migration law, a new field of study that she is developing along with colleagues in law and other disciplines. Her work in the area focuses on forced migration as well as the intersection of immigration and international human rights law. Her most recent works explore the role of international migration law in constructing migration emergencies and critique human rights law as insufficiently attentive to the interests of undocumented migrants. Professor Ramji-Nogales has also written on the situation of forced migrants under international criminal law and international humanitarian law.
Along with her Georgetown University co-authors, Professor Ramji-Nogales has published several quantitative and qualitative studies of the U.S. asylum system. Their first book, Refugee Roulette: Disparities in Asylum Adjudication and Proposals for Reform, was the first empirical study of decision-making at all four levels of the American asylum process. Their second book, Lives in the Balance: Asylum Adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security, provides an in-depth examination of the first level of that process, enriching its quantitative findings with interviews and surveys of asylum adjudicators. Both works offer suggestions for systemic reform.
In her earlier work, Professor Ramji-Nogales explored questions of process and systemic design in the transitional justice context. Her work in that field suggests that existing efforts are under-theorized and inadequately tailored to local contexts and offers a pluralist theory to guide future transitional justice projects. As a Senior Legal Advisor to the Documentation Center of Cambodia for over twenty years, Professor Ramji-Nogales has authored several pieces on transitional justice in Cambodia, the lessons of which inform all of her work in the field. She is also the co-editor of Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice: Prosecuting Mass Violence Before the Cambodian Courts.
Prior to joining academia, Professor Ramji-Nogales practiced law as a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York and as an Associate at the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. She was previously awarded a Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship in International Human Rights to create a refugee law clinic at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Professor Ramji-Nogales received a B.A. with highest honors from the University of California at Berkeley; a J.D., in 1999, from the Yale Law School; and an LL.M. with distinction from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Professor Ramji-Nogales is a Senior Research Associate of the Refugee Law Initiative of the School for Advanced Studies at the University of London. She is a Counselor of the American Society of International Law, where she has also served on the Executive Council, was a founding co-chair of the Migration Law Interest Group, and helped to create the Interest Group Committee. Professor Ramji-Nogales is an Immigration Editor at JOTWELL, and served as a founding editor of the IntLawGrrls blog from 2007 to 2018.