Karla  McKanders

McKanders Karla
  • Associate Professor of Law

  • B.A., Spelman College
    J.D., Duke University

  • Location: Room 78
  • Phone Number: 865-974-5710
  • Email: kmckande@utk.edu
  • Courses Taught: Advocacy Clinic, Immigration Clinic, International Humanitarian Law, Refugee Law and Policy
  • Additional Information: Curriculum Vitae (pdf)SSRN


Publications of Karla  McKanders

Professor McKanders joined the faculty as an Associate Professor in 2008. She came to Tennessee from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she served was a Reuschlein Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Clinic for Refugee Asylum and Emigrant Services (“CARES”), a law student clinical course where students handled asylum cases before immigration judges, asylum officers and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Prior to joining Villanova, she clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2003, she also was an Associate with a law firm in Michigan specializing labor and employment law.

Her research focuses on civil rights, immigration and asylum law and policy. Among her writings she has explored the constitutionality of recent state and local laws targeting immigrants as well as the legal connections between past discriminatory laws and current anti-immigrant legislation. She has also co-authored with other immigration professors an extensive report on proposed reforms to the immigration system (link to SALT WEBSITE).

Professor McKanders received a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture in 2011-2012 in Morocco.  Professor McKanders is currently a Fellow at the University of Tennessee’s Center for the Study of Social Justice in the Migration and Refugee Studies group.



Biography of Karla  McKanders

Book Chapters  

The Living Conditions of Immigrants; France; & Freedom of Movement, International Issues in Immigration Law, in Global Issues in Immigration Law (Franklin A. Gevurt, Ed., Thomson-West Publishing Forthcoming 2013). 


Invited Symposium: Federalism, State Sovereignty and Immigrant’s Rights, Wake Forest J. Law & Policy (forthcoming spring 2013). 

Immigration Enforcement and the Fugitive Slave Acts: Exploring their Similarities, Cath.L.Rev. (forthcoming fall 2012).

Anatomy of an Uprising: Women, Democracy and the Moroccan Feminist Spring(work-in-progress). 

Invited Symposium: Unforgiving of Those Who Trespass Against U.S.: State Laws Criminalizing Immigration Status, 12 Loy. J. Pub. Int. L 331 (Spring 2011).

Invited Symposium: Unspoken Voice of Indigenous Women in Immigration Raids, 14 J. Gender Race & Just. 1 (Fall  2010).

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

Sustaining Tiered Personhood: Jim Crow and Anti-Immigrant Laws, 26 Harv. J. Rac. & Eth. Jus.  163 (2010).

Invited Symposium: The Constitutionality of State and Local Laws Targeting Immigrants, 31.4 U.Ark. Little Rock L.J. 579 (2009).

Welcome to Hazleton! (“Illegal” Immigrants Beware): Local Employment Immigration Ordinances and What the Federal Government Must Do About, It 39 Loy.U.Chi.L.J. 1 (2007).

Co-Authored Publications 

Co-Authored, Raquel Aldana (Pacific McGeorge School of Law), Beth Lyon (Villanova Univ. School of Law, and Karla McKanders, Raising the Bar:  Law Schools and Legal Institutions Leading to Education Undocumented Lawyers, Arizona State L.J. (forthcoming 2012).

Karla M. McKanders, Varying Shades of Grey: Teaching Amongst Generational Difference, 17.1 Clinical L. Rev. 1001 (Fall 2010); Co-Authored Counterpart essays by Praveen Kosuri (Univ. Penn. Law School), Minna Kotkin (Brooklyn Law); Steven Reid (Northwestern School of Law), Dean Rivkin (Univ. Tenn. College of Law).

Co-Authored, Raquel Aldana (Pacific McGeorge School of Law), Beth Lyon (Villanova Univ. School of Law, and Karla McKanders, Society of American Law Teachers, SALT Recommendations to the Administration for Immigration Agency Reforms, (June 16, 2009).

Media Appearances 

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

WATE, ABC Affiliate, Knox County Experts Weigh in on Illegal Immigration Laws, Knoxville, TN, April 2010;

Let’s Talk Law with Steve Oberman, Segregation, Discrimination and Equal Protection, Knoxville, TN, December 2009;

Tennessean, At Least Three Immigrants Seek Asylum in Tennessee, Nashville, TN, August 2009;

USA Today, Scholarships Come with Inspiration, October 2005.

Works in Progress

Lost Century Found: The Fugitive Slave Act and Federal Immigration Authority

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