Professor Michael Vastine joined the faculty of St. Thomas University School of Law in 2004, where he is a tenured professor of law and Director of the Immigration Clinic. A frequent conference speaker and author, he is also a leader of the immigration bar, with extensive service within the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). From 2011-20, he was elected to serve on the AILA South Florida Chapter Board of Directors, including a term as Chair of the Chapter. Professor Vastine’s AILA national-level service includes multiple terms on the Federal Litigation Section Steering Committee, Annual Conference Planning Committee, and Amicus Curiae Committee. His impact litigation principally relates to immigration and crimes, including the lead case at the Florida Supreme Court establishing the constitutional rights of immigrant defendants to effective representation by their criminal counsel, and multiple cases at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit delineating the immigration consequences of Florida convictions involving controlled substances. Additionally, he has represented AILA and other community-based organizations, as amicus curiae counsel, in forums ranging from the Board of Immigration Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, in matters including the constitutional limits of indefinite detention of immigrants, the due process rights of the physically deported, and the immigration consequences of state crimes. In 2013, Professor Vastine received the AILA (National) Elmer Fried Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Research, Outreach, and Education
The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy is designed to conduct research, outreach and education in the field of human trafficking. In particular, it offers specialized training and technical assistance to law enforcement, lawyers, healthcare providers, teachers, students, researchers, religious institutions and the community at large on issues related to the crime of trafficking in persons. It looks at trafficking in persons as a gross violation of human rights and as an affront to the dignity of the human being.