National Media Quotes

McKanders talks Syrian refugee resettlement with Mother Jones

Karla McKanders, associate professor of law and director of the UT Law Immigration Clinic, recently spoke to Mother Jones about a joint resolution working its way through the Tennessee General Assembly that would order the state’s attorney general to sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program for Syrians fleeing their country’s civil war. McKanders told the publication that “it is unlikely that any federal judge would allow the state to deny entry to refugees … Once refugees are legally admitted into the United States, they are free to live wherever they like—just like any other US resident.”

Read the full article at Mother Jones, Sarah Rathod, Tennessee Republicans Are Gearing Up to Sue the Government Over Syrian Refugees (March 2016).

Reuters article, Immigrants Face Major Hurdles in Signing Up to New Obama Plan (November 2014).

Ben Waldron, Homeschooling German Family Fights Deportation, ABC News (March 2013).

Sam Bollier, German Homeschoolers Fight for Asylum in US, Al-Jazeera (March 2013).

Featured Story in USA Today, Scholarships Come with Inspiration, (October 2005).

State of Tennessee and Local Media

Featured in WBIR, Knoxville NBC Affiliate, Governors' call to ban Syrian refugees 'a constitutional question' (November 17, 2015).

Featured in WATE, Knoxville ABC Affiliate, Tennessee Senate Leaders Want Hearings Consider Bills on Syrian Immigration (November 17, 2015).

Featured in WBIR, Knoxville NBC Affiliate, UT Professor Questions Trump Immigration Plan (August 21, 2015).

Featured in WBIR, Knoxville NBC Affiliate, President’s Immigration Plan Could Impact Families in East Tennessee (November 20, 2014).

Quoted in Knoxville News Sentinel Article, Waiting for Answers: Knox’s Undocumented Immigrants Hope for Action (November 17, 2014).

WATE, ABC Affiliate, Knox County Experts Weigh in on Illegal Immigration Laws, (April 2010).

Quoted in Tennessean, At Least Three Immigrants Seek Asylum in Tennessee, Nashville, TN (August 2009).

Legal Commentary

Karla McKanders, Non-Discrimination Trumps Executive Order, JURIST - Academic Commentary, February 10, 2017,

Invited Commentary. Non-Discrimination Trumps Order, JURIST - Academic Commentary, February 10, 2017.

Invited Commentary. Responding to the Refugee Crisis, Can Lawyers’ Help?, JURIST - Academic Commentary, Oct. 1, 2015.

Invited Commentary. 1967 Refugee Convention: Moral Aspiration or Legal Obligation?, JURIST - Academic Commentary, September 28, 2015.

Authored, Society of American Law Teachers Statement on Charleston and Racist Violence (September 2015).

Authored, Society of American Law Teachers Statement for officials to uphold the rule of law in relation to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri (November 2014).

Black and Brown Based Coalition Building During the “Post-Racial” Obama Era, 29 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 473 (2010).

Society of American Law Teachers, Recommendations to the Obama Administration on Immigration Agency Reforms (with Raquel Aldana and Beth Lyon) (June 16, 2009).

Karla McKanders, Op-ed, Renewing Violence Against Women Act would Protect All, KnoxNews Sentinel (April 2012).

Talks and Presentations

Keynote Speaker National Pre-Law Diversity Initiative, Fall 2016

Selected to be Keynote Speaker on scholarship involving the intersections of Jim Crow and Juan Crow immigration laws for the National Pre-Law Diversity Initiatives, Inc. at New York University School of Law. Pre-Law Diversity Initiatives is non-profit educational and charitable organization focused on providing programming, free of charge with the goal of increasing diversity in law schools and in the legal profession by providing prospective law students with empowering information, resources and connections to help them in the challenging path to becoming a lawyer.

BB & T Bank, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, October 2015

DACA as applied to Tennessee

Educating Lawyers in an Age of Armchair Activism, Fall 2014

1960s lawyers were known for spearheading the Civil Rights, anti-Vietnam War, Women’s and Student movements, which transformed the U.S. justice system. In contrast, in the digital age, “armchair activists” post about civil rights violations from the comfort of their homes. While many students still pursue a legal degree to enter into a service-oriented career, others question whether training lawyers to be “change agents” is an idea of the past. This presentation centers on the Clinical Legal Education model, which has the dual goals of educating future lawyers and providing quality legal assistance to individuals without access to the justice system. The presentation asks whether there are present-day ideological impediments that inhibit the inculcation of a “change agent” perspective in today's future lawyers. This inquiry is explored through examining the local and international service learning projects in which The University of Tennessee’s Immigration Clinic has engaged in Knoxville, Swaziland, and Morocco.

40 under 40 Emerging Leader: Knoxville News Sentinel

January, 2014: Selected from over 300 nominees by the Knoxville Business Journal as one of the 2014 Top 40 under 40 emerging leaders. The honor highlights individuals younger than 40 who are leaving their mark on East Tennessee through their professional achievements and philanthropic efforts. 
Karla McKanders Featured Profile


BLAST FROM THE PAST: High School Class President Commencement Speech - May 1996