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Elizabeth M. McCormick

1963 - 2023
Director of Clinical Education Programs, University of Tulsa College of Law
Chapter Member: Oklahoma SSN

Elizabeth McCormick passed away on July 7, 2023. Read her obituary here.

About Elizabeth

McCormick teaches immigration law and international asylum & refugee law and directs the Immigrant Rights Project, a clinical education program at the University of Tulsa College of Law through which law students represent non-citizens in immigration matters. Her scholarship and advocacy focus on immigration law and policy, in particular the intersection of federal immigration law and policy and state and local immigration enforcement efforts. She advises lawmakers and policymakers on issues related to federal immigration law and policy, and the role of local law enforcement agencies in immigration enforcement. McCormick works with various community partners and members of state and city government on educational and other programs related to immigration and the immigrant community. 

In the News

Quoted by Mitch Gilliam in "Stories from the Resistance: One Year In," The Tulsa Voice, November 1, 2017.
Quoted by Darla Shelden in "Tulsa Business, Community and Faith Leaders Advance Immigration Reform as Legislative Priority," The City Sentinel, April 29, 2017.
Quoted by Clyde Haberman in "Trump and the Battle over Sanctuary in America," The New York Times, March 5, 2017.
Quoted by Lis Exon in "Immigration Fears," Oklahoma News, February 24, 2017.
Quoted by Ginnie Graham in "Tulsa Immigrants on Edge about New Memos Expanding Possibility for Deportations," Tulsa World, February 22, 2017.
Opinion: "Trump Rhetoric Demonizes Immigrants, despite Evidence," Elizabeth M. McCormick, Tulsa World, February 8, 2017.
Quoted by Ginnie Graham in "No City in Oklahoma is Considered a Sanctuary for Undocumented Immigrants ," Tulsa World, January 27, 2017.
Quoted by Ralph Schaefer in "New Citizens Enhance Rich Immigrant Heritage," Tulsa World, April 28, 2016.
Interviewed in "The Kids are Out of Fort Sill. Now What?," Oklahoma Policy Institute, September 9, 2014.


"HIV-Infected Haitian Refugees: An Argument against Exclusion" Georgetown Immigration Law Review 7, no. 1 (1993).

Discusses the plight of 222 Haitian refugees detained by the United States Immigration Service at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 1993, and argues against the exclusion of these refugees who are infected with HIV. Argues that such exclusionary policies ignore a fundamental premise of United States refugee law by failing to consider the compelling circumstances which prompt certain immigrants to leave their homes and seek refuge in the United States. Reveals that the exclusion policy furthers no legitimate economic or public health interest on the part of the United States. 

"Rethinking Indirect Victim Eligibility for U Non-Immigrant Visas to Better Protect Immigrant Families and Communities" Stanford Law & Policy Review 22 (2011).

Reviews the legislative history of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and provides some historical context to the creation of the U visa. Examines the statutory language creating the U visa and considers whether and to what extent the language of the statute reflects both the law enforcement and humanitarian goals of the U visa. Reviews the claims of immigrant crime victims and their families during the interim relief period prior to the issuance of U visa regulations. Examines and expands upon arguments made in a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. citizen child victim exclusion. 

"Understanding "Sanctuary Cities"" (with Christopher N. Lasch, Linus Chan, Ingrid V. Eagly, Dina Francesca Haynes, Annie Lai, and Juliet P. Stumpf). Boston College Law Review 59 (2018).

Sets forth the central features of the Trump administration's mass deportation plans and its campaign to "crack down" on sanctuary cities. Outlines the diverse ways in which localities have sought to protect their residents by refusing to participate in the Trump immigration agenda. Analyzes the legal and policy justifications that local jurisdictions have advanced. Reveals important insights for how sanctuary cities are understood and preserved in the age of Trump.

"Hospitality: How a Biblical Virtue Could Transform United States Immigration Policy" (with Patrick McCormick). University of Detroit Mercy Law Review 83 (2006).

Argues that the central biblical command to offer hospitality to the stranger has been overlooked and/or ignored in recent debates over U.S. policy concerning the treatment of immigrants, that there are good reasons for considering this biblical command when setting public policy about immigration, and the religious command to show hospitality to the stranger should lead us to reconsider (and oppose) several policy changes currently under consideration. Offers three specific examples of how United States immigration law and policy might be brought more in line with the biblical mandate to show hospitality to the stranger, and how doing so could lead to a more just and effectual immigration system. 

"Oklahoma" in Contemporary Immigration in America: A State-by-State Encyclopedia, edited by Kathleen R. Arnold (ABC-CLIO, 2015), 665-686.

Addresses legal, social, political, and cultural issues of immigrant groups in Oklahoma and explores immigration trends and issues faced by individual ethnic populations.

"The Oklahoma Taxpayer andCitizen Protection Act: Blowing Off Steam or Setting Wildfires?" Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 23 (2009).

Considers Oklahoma's recent experiment in immigration regulation and examines how it is that Oklahoma has found itself on the front lines of the illegal immigration debate. Argues that a "steam valve" model of immigration federalism is no longer an apt description of sub-federal immigration lawmaking. Argues that allowing individual states to enact immigration control measures locally provides a dangerous mechanism for national anti-immigrant groups to accomplish through state-by-state lobbying effort what they have been unable to achieve at the national level. 

"Federal Anti-Sanctuary Law: A Failed Approach to Immigration Enforcement and a Poor Substitute for Real Reform" Lewis & Clark Law Review 20 (2016).

Examines the history of the 1996 federal anti-sanctuary laws, the ways in which state and federal courts have understood their meaning and purpose, and the evolving role of the statutes in the national immigration debate, in particular the struggle to define the proper role for the state and local actors in immigration enforcement. Closes with a discussion of the anti-sanctuary statutes in the context of Kate Steinle's killing and San Francisco's sanctuary law, concluding that the San Francisco ordinance which mandated Lopez-Sanchez's release from custody did not violate the anti-sanctuary statutes or any other federal law.