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

The Nevada Independent
November 25, 2020
Manuela Guzman died this month, alone in a Las Vegas hospital, where she had been since late September. Early in her battle with COVID-19, nurses had helped her talk to her family via FaceTime. But in the third week of October, her heart stopped. Both of her lungs collapsed. Her family was told to expect her to die then, but the doctors and nurses kept her going. She lived for another three weeks, though by the end her family knew what was coming.
Las Vegas Weekly
November 19, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak recently issued a request that Nevadans stay home and read books. OK, he really just asked us all to stay home to combat the surging coronavirus. But we might as well make the best of it by reading some great new books. Here’s the latest batch of Nevada-related selection, ready to carry you through the lockdown. What else were you gonna do, make sourdough bread?
The Intercept
October 9, 2020
In early March 2013, Gerson Alvarenga-Flores was in a taxi with three friends, on his way to a birthday party in a rural town outside of La Unión, El Salvador. Suddenly, two men with rifles appeared in the road ahead and signaled for the taxi to stop. The men were both members of the MS-13 gang. When the passengers refused to exit the taxi, the gang members began shooting.
The New York Review of Books
September 24, 2020
The United States is in an age of mass deportation. This may not be surprising, given how consistently President Trump has denigrated, demonized, and threatened immigrants. His administration has waged an assault on the entire immigration system, shutting down access to asylum, pressuring the immigration courts to churn out removal orders, and adopting rules that narrowed the avenues to legal immigration and crippled US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers it. According to the most recent official figures, from the beginning of Trump’s term through September 2019 his administration carried out more than 584,000 formal deportations. As of last October, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was monitoring more than 3.2 million cases of immigrants who were in active deportation proceedings.

Articles Featuring Michael Kagan

Campus NewsNovember 5, 2020
A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV’s commitment to community, health care, and research.
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.