Last week was Thanksgiving in the United States, when we celebrate the Pilgrims coming to the New World. Today, however; immigration policy is now a “hot button” issue. Here at UIS, Assistant Professor Annuradha “Anette” Sikka has expertise in the fields of Immigration and International Law. She recently was instrumental in creating a web resource for our campus to help with understanding immigration issues.
Dr. Sikka earned her Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa and she has a J.D. from Dalhousie University. She is licensed to practice in Ontario, Canada and in Alabama where she continues to consult on immigration cases. Her research focuses on immigration reform and criminal justice, race/class/gender approaches to security, and international rule of law programming. She is a professor in the Legal Studies Department and teaches international law, constitutional law, and human rights, in addition to immigration.
Prior to coming to UIS, Dr. Sikka worked for the United Nations in Bosnia and Kosovo training police and prosecutors on gender and operational policy. She has continued to work as a consultant providing research and training on security sector reform and refugee issues in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan. This work complements her teaching and enhances her research, and it provides avenues of interest for students in their quests to understand the ways in which law impacts different areas of society.
Dr. Sikka is currently seeking research assistants and project interns to assist with two immigration-related projects, one of which is also associated with her work as Policy Advisor at the Illinois Innocence Project. Students will help Dr. Sikka gather and analyze data on pressures faced by immigrant defendants and witnesses to forego full participation in criminal proceedings for fear of facing immigration consequences . The UIS Internships Office has information on how to apply and earn credit for this experience.
Students in Dr. Sikka’s classes will also be able to take part in various ways. In LES 476: Immigration and the Law, students will be able to participate in research and community-oriented projects related to immigration reform generally, and they can become directly involved in the pilot projects through class assignments. (click here to register now).
She and Sophia Gehlhausen (UIS Diversity Center) have prepared a website to centralize communication about immigration issues at UIS. Together with a new student organization, H.E.L.P., they have produced a short informational video on the laws and resources relevant to our understanding of immigration in the current national and local context, and how it affects UIS students, faculty and administration.