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.
The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy upholds and advances the inherent value, worth and dignity of each human being. To this end, it develops education programs, conducts research, and instructs law and policy to fight human trafficking throughout the world and to empower survivor leadership in our global community.
The Academy offers specialized training and technical assistance to countries, government entities, academic institutions, the private sector, faith-based organizations, and the community at large on issues related to the crime of trafficking in persons. To date, the Academy has impacted over 15,000 leaders and community members domestically and abroad. As part of St. Thomas University School of Law’s LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights, the Academy addresses human trafficking from the perspective of human rights law, and the integral human development of every person and the whole person.
St. Thomas University School of Law through its LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights is the first academic institution in South Florida to shed light on the magnitude and scope of human trafficking. It is also one of the pioneer institutions in the field of human trafficking nationwide, and the first law school to offer a doctrinal course on human trafficking law in its J.D. curriculum.
Since 2004, the Program has hosted numerous symposia, seminars and roundtables locally and internationally. In 2005, under the leadership of international scholar and expert, Prof. Dr. Roza Pati, a set of law and policy recommendations were formulated under the name of “The Miami Declaration of Principles on Human Trafficking,” which has guided law and policy in various states nationally and internationally. In 2010, Dr. Pati formally founded the Academy with the support of a grant of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. In 2017, the late John J. Brunetti, a successful businessman and philanthropist, donated a generous gift to the Academy enabling its continued work as a premier institution for training and education on human trafficking, and the Academy now proudly bears his name. Today, the Academy continues its legacy as a cutting-edge leader in the field, and views trafficking in persons as a gross violation of human rights and an affront to the dignity of the human being.