Member book, Statz, Lawyering an Uncertain Cause: Immigration Advocacy and Chinese Youth in the U.S.

Michele Statz's picture

Dear colleagues:


I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book:


Statz, Michele. Lawyering an Uncertain Cause: Immigration Advocacy and Chinese Youth in the U.S. (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2018). 235 pp., ISBN: 9780826522092.


With public outrage rightfully centering on the U.S.’ treatment of young migrants and their families, this book explores critical and timely—and largely unconsidered—dimensions of mobility and advocacy:

  • What are the motivations and perspectives of young migrants from regions other than Central America?
  • What compels (and constrains) the legal advocates who work on these youths’ behalf?
  • What are the long-term experiences of young migrants post-release—including the unanticipated consequences of a "successful" legal case?

Contextualized through histories of Chinese emigration, U.S. immigration policy, and ideologies of age and childhood, Lawyering an Uncertain Cause ethnographically traces the practices and aims of immigration cause lawyers alongside the transnational negotiations of their clients: young Chinese migrants who have been apprehended, designated “Unaccompanied,” and placed in removal proceedings. Bringing these perspectives together for the first time, this book subtly illuminates the consequential uncertainty at the heart of lawyering for and around youth mobility.


Written to be accessible and widely read, Lawyering an Uncertain Cause will appeal to scholars and students of immigration, the anthropologies of law and/or childhood, Asian studies, sociolegal studies, labor studies, and rural “new destinations.” It will also be useful to legal practitioners and law students, particularly those interested in immigration law, child welfare, and the legal profession.


Table of Contents:

Preface: “The future doesn’t come to me”    

1. “I didn’t think it was in her best interest”                                                

2. The Cause in Theory and Practice                                                                         

3. A Poetic and Practical Bridge: Reflections on Youth Mobility

4. Selecting Identity, Rejecting Context                    

5. The Spectacular Case                                

6. Limited Relief                                                                                            

7. Reflections on Instability and Inconclusiveness    


More information can be found at: