Listen: Attorney Jonah Eaton '02 on Challenges to Immigrant Communities Under Trump

This spring, Jonah Eaton '02 gave a lecture, "Challenges to Immigrant Communities Under Trump." Eaton, an attorney and specialist in refugee and asylum law at Philadelphia’s Nationalities Services Center (NSC), draws on how anti-discrimination laws and Constitutional protections clash with longstanding judicial deference to the executive on matters of national security and immigration.

President Donald Trump campaigned on aggressively curtailing immigration to the U.S. and "securing" U.S. boarders by stopping the flow of immigrants. In the weeks since taking office, the new administration rapidly moved through a series of executive orders, which left the nation's airports in chaos, spurred national protests, and brought broad, although not universal, rebuke from the judiciary. In his talk, Eaton explores the legal underpinnings of the executive orders, how they violate the Constitution or federal statutes, and, most importantly, how future orders may survive legal challenge. Additionally, he discusses how these orders affected immigrants and refugees attempting to come to the United States.

Eaton specializes in refugee and asylum law and is the Nationalities Service Center's Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) staff attorney, providing pro bono legal representation for victims of torture. In addition to his PPR work, Eaton represents immigrants in a wide range of legal issues before USCIS, Immigration Court, and U.S. District Court. He also co-teaches the Refugee Law and Policy class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Prior to joining NSC, Eaton was a Bates Fellow at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Bureau for Europe in Brussels, Belgium. There, he worked on impact litigation before the European Court of Justice and litigation involving refugee rights in the European Union.

Eaton graduated with honors from Swarthmore College with a double major in political science and engineering. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.