The People’s Lawyer, for All the People: State Attorneys General and Immigrants’ Rights

Terri Gerstein Director, NYU Wagner Labor Initiative, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; Former Labor Bureau Chief, New York State Attorney General’s Office

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June 25, 2020

The heart of a state attorney general’s mission is to serve the public interest. With broad jurisdiction that varies from state to state, they play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights, health, and safety of their states’ residents.

In a new ACS Issue Brief, Terri Gerstein, Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program and a Senior Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, details the many ways in which state AGs have become the champions of immigrants over the last three and a half years, both responding to the rollback of their rights by the federal government and serving as a counterpoint to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of national leadership. Gerstein’s goal is not just to document these efforts, but to encourage relevant actors to consider what more can be done, especially in light of the unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.