Michael Kagan

Professor of Law
Director, UNLV Immigration Clinic
Expertise: Immigration Law, International Human Rights Law, Administrative Law


Michael Kagan, director of the UNLV Immigration Clinic, teaches administrative law, professional responsibility, international human rights and immigration law.  In both his research and his clinical teaching, Kagan focuses on the tension between immigration law and civil rights.

Kagan has been published by numerous top law reviews and journals and wrote several of the most widely cited articles in the fields of international refugee and asylum law, which have been relied on by courts in multiple countries.  Kagan’s research on credibility assessment in asylum cases “guided most subsequent research and analysis on the topic,” according to a 2012 commentary. He is frequently interviewed on immigration issues by local, national and global news media, and is a frequent Op-Ed writer, with his work appearing in The Washington PostSalon.comThe Daily BeastWorld Politics Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Before coming to UNLV's Boyd School of Law, Kagan spent 10 years building legal aid programs for refugees throughout the Middle East and Asia, and lived in London, Cairo, Beirut and Jerusalem. He held teaching positions at Tel Aviv University and the American University in Cairo. His role in expanding refugee legal aid in the global south was profiled in Zachary Kaufman’s Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012).


  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School
  • B.A., Northwestern University

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Michael Kagan In The News

Law & Crime
September 15, 2020
A federal appellate court on Monday sided with the Trump administration in its effort to terminate humanitarian protections for approximately 300,000 refugees from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, ruling that the administration can legally end their Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The 2-1 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a district court ruling. The lower court had emphasized that President Donald Trump’s references to those such nations as “shithole countries” was evidence that the decision may have been based, at least in part, on racial animus. The Ninth Circuit decided differently, citing a “glaring lack of evidence […] linking the President’s animus to the TPS terminations.”
The Spot 518
August 13, 2020
Michael Kagan is an immigration law professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. His career has been spent working to help refugees and immigrants around the world. Kagan recently published a book, “The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration’s Hidden Front Line,” released yesterday, stringing several of those storylines together. The root of those stories, however, starts in Delmar, New York — where Kagan is from.
Times Union
July 30, 2020
When I received the email from my editor that Michael Kagan, a graduate of the Bethlehem school district, had published his first book, I immediately wrote back that I wanted to interview him. I was Mike’s seventh-grade English teacher back in the late 1980s, and I remembered him fondly.
July 30, 2020
The Trump administration on Tuesday announced that it will renew its efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy by directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cease accepting any new applications and curtailing renewals for the program.

Articles Featuring Michael Kagan

A portrait of UNLV's new president Keith Whitfield on campus.
Campus NewsAugust 10, 2020
As summer heats up, so do the accomplishments on UNLV’s campus.
Campus NewsFebruary 18, 2020
A collection of news stories capturing the excitement and accomplishments of UNLV at the start of a new decade.
exterior of Boyd School of Law
Business and CommunityJanuary 31, 2020
Service partnership between UNLV Boyd School of Law and CSN demonstrates systemwide dedication to its diverse student population.
football players look up at fireworks display
Campus NewsDecember 2, 2019
A collection of local, national, and international news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.