Natalie Nanasi

Natalie Nanasi

Full-time faculty

Director of the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women and Assistant Professor of Law

Biography

Natalie Nanasi is an Assistant Professor of Law and the Director of the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women. Her work involves supervising students’ representation of individual survivors of gender-based violence in a broad range of legal matters as well as systemic advocacy and policy work.
 
Prior to arriving at SMU, Professor Nanasi was a Practitioner-in-Residence and the Director of the Domestic Violence Clinic at American University, Washington College of Law (WCL). Before joining the faculty at WCL, Professor Nanasi was the Senior Immigration Attorney and Pro Bono Coordinator at the Tahirih Justice Center, where she represented immigrant women and girls fleeing human rights abuses such as female genital mutilation, domestic and sexual violence, forced marriage and honor crimes. She also served as counsel in the landmark asylum case of Matter of A-T- and as an Equal Justice Works Fellow from 2007-2009, with a focus on the U visa. Prior to her work at Tahirih, Professor Nanasi was a law clerk to the Honorable Lynn Leibovitz of the District of Columbia Superior Court.
 
Professor Nanasi researches and writes at the intersection of immigration, gender and feminist legal theory. Her scholarship is has appeared in numerous journals and law reviews, including the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, the Ohio State Law Journal and the Yale Journal on Law and Feminism.  
 
Professor Nanasi received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned an Equal Justice Foundation fellowship for her work at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Center in New Delhi, India and assisted in representation of HIV-positive immigrants at Whitman Walker Clinic Legal Services. Prior to her legal career, Professor Nanasi was a rape crisis counselor and supported single teenage mothers at a transitional residence facility in Boston. 
 

Areas of Expertise

  • Clinical Legal Education
  • Humanitarian Immigration Law
  • Domestic Violence Law

Education

B.A., Brandeis University
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center

Courses

Crimes Against Women (Hunter) Clinic
Family Immigration Detention Clinic

Articles

Are Domestic Abusers Terrorists? Rhetoric, Reality, and Asylum Law, 91 Temple Law Review 215 (2019)
Full-text: SSRN | SMU Repository

The U Visa's Failed Promise for Survivors of Domestic Violence, 29 Yale Journal of Law & Feminism 273 (2018)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Domestic Violence Asylum and the Perpetuation of the Victimization Narrative, 78 Ohio State Law Journal 733 (2017)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

An “I Do” I Choose: How the Fight for Marriage Access Supports a Per Se Finding of Persecution for Asylum Cases Based on Forced Marriage, 28 Columbia Journal of Gender & Law 48 (2014)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Lessons from Matter of A-T-: Guidance for Practitioners Litigating Asylum Cases Involving a Spectrum of Gender-Based Harms, from Female Genital Mutilation to Forced Marriage and Beyond, 12-02 Immigration Briefings 1 (February 2012)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The U Visa: An Effective Resource for Law Enforcement, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, (October 2009)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

New Help for Immigrant Victims of Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Report (February/March 2009), reprinted in Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly (Winter 2011)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
 

Book Chapters


Book Chapters and Short Pieces

Commentary: Matter of A-R-C-G-, in FEMINIST JUDGMENTS:  REWRITTEN FAMILY LAW OPINIONS, (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

A Fraught Pairing: Immigrant Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Law Enforcement, in THE POLITICIZATION OF SAFETY, (NYU, Press, 2019)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

A Library's Legacy, 71 SMU Law Review 27 (2018)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Other Publications

The DOJ Quietly Narrowed the Definition of Domestic Violence. It’s a Travesty,  Slate (Jan. 21, 2019)

Op-Ed, A Government Attack on Immigrant Women and Children, Texas Tribune (June 29, 2018)

Op-Ed, Attorney General's Asylum Ruling Misunderstands Domestic Violence and Miscarries Justice, Dallas Morning News (June 15, 2018)

Op-Ed, Sutherland Springs Massacre was Foreseeable and Maybe Even Preventable, Dallas Morning News, (Nov. 11, 2017)

Blog Post, U.S. Marriage Equality Decision Highlights Disparity in Forced Marriage Asylum Adjudication, IntLawGrrls (July 23, 2015)

Lessons from Matter of A-T-: Guidance for Practitioners Litigating Asylum Cases Involving a Spectrum of Gender-Based Harms, from Female Genital Mutilation to Forced Marriage and Beyond, 12-02 Immig. Briefings 1 (February 2012)

The U Visa: An Effective Resource for Law Enforcement, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, (October 2009)

New Help for Immigrant Victims of Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Report (February/March 2009), reprinted in Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly (Winter 2011)

Presentations

Presenter, “Understanding the Judicial Role in Enforcing Firearms Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Offenders” (June 21, 2019)

Presented, “Legal Remedies for Survivors of Human Trafficking,” U.S. Department of State International Visitors Leadership Program (May 21, 2019)

Presented, “New Developments in Federal Policy Toward Domestic Violence Asylum Seekers,” Conference on Crimes Against Women (April 10, 2019)

Moderator, “ACS—Women on the Bench,” SMU Dedman School of Law (March 28, 2019)

Panelist, “Immigration Law,” Mayor’s Star Council (Feb. 26, 2019)

Panelist, “Citizenship and the Fourteenth Amendment,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Nov. 1, 2018)

Moderator, “Sexual Harassment in a Post-Weinstein World,” SMU Tower Center (Oct. 30, 2018)

Moderator, “The Dangerous Intersection of Domestic Violence and Guns,” National Council of Jewish Women (Oct. 23, 2018)

Featured speaker, “Constitution Day,” Richland College (Sept. 17, 2018)

Panelist, “The Judge,” Dallas Bar Association (July 27, 2018)

Panelist, “Post-Conviction Advocacy for Survivors of Human Trafficking,” ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Survivor Reentry Project (July 17, 2018)

Panelist, “Tales from the Crypt: Sexual Harassment Scandals in Hollywood and Beyond,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Oct. 31, 2017)

Panelist, “Immigration and Law Enforcement Tools for Working With Victims,” Conference on Crimes Against Women (May 23, 2017)

Presented, “The U Visa’s Failed Promise for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Politicization of Safety Conference, UCI Initiative of End Family Violence, U.C. Irvine School of Law (April 7, 2017)

Keynote Speaker, Richland College Honors Conference (March 23, 2017)

Panelist, “The Politics of Sexual Violence,” SMU Women’s Symposium (March 8, 2017)

Speaker, “Refugee and Immigrant Leaders Forum,” Park Cities Baptist Church (Feb. 16, 2017)

Panelist, “Is the Doctor In?: Reproductive Rights in the Era of Trump,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Feb. 14, 2017)

Presenter, “Immigration Executive Orders,” Women of Dallas United for Action (Feb. 7, 2017)

Panelist, “Don’t Fence Me In or Out: Navigating Borders and Immigration Law in the Age of Trump,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Feb. 2, 2017)

Guest speaker, Annual Dallas Area Sisterhood Intrafaith Luncheon, “Modern Day Slavery: Closer to Your Home than You Think” (Jan. 22, 2017)

Panelist, “Why Does a Corporate Attorney Need to Know about Domestic Violence? How Domestic Violence Impacts All Areas of Law,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Oct. 25, 2016)

Panelist, “Life After Obergefell,” SMU Dedman School of Law (Oct. 24, 2016)

Presented, “Domestic Violence Asylum and the Perpetuation of the Victimization Narrative, University of Akron Center for Constitutional Law, U.S. Feminist Judgments Project: Rewriting the Law, Writing the Future (Oct. 22, 2016)

Presented, “Examining Community and Mission in Gender Violence Clinics,” AALS Clinical Conference (May 3, 2016)

Presented, “Domestic Violence Asylum and the Perpetuation of the Victimization Narrative, University of Baltimore, 9th Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference (March 4, 2016)

Presenter, concurrent session: “Identity, Expertise, and Evolution: Challenges and Rewards in Cross-Clinic Collaboration,” AALS Clinical Conference (April 28, 2014)

Moderator, American University Washington College of Law Founders’ Celebration, “Forced Marriage in The United States and Canada: Opportunities and Challenges in Protecting Survivors” (April 1, 2014)

Speaker, “Building Law Enforcement Capacity to Serve Immigrant Victims,” a project of Legal Momentum and the Vera Institute of Justice (June 17, 2011)

Panelist, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Regional Victim Assistance Training, Portsmouth, VA (May 3, 2011)

Guest speaker, American University, courses included: “Human Rights” (Sept. 13, 2010); “Sexual Violence” (Oct. 21, 2009); “Domestic Violence” (Feb. 28, 2009); and “Societal Effects and Responses to Intimate Partner Violence” (Oct. 20, 2008)

Panelist, Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School, “Domestic Violence as a Basis for Asylum” (April 1, 2010)

Panelist, Seventh Annual Freedom Network Conference, “The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act” (March 19, 2009)

Speaker, DC Bar Pro Bono Program, “The U Visa: Helping Immigrant Victims of Crime” (Feb. 13, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2008)

Panelist, American Bar Association National Training Institute on Civil Remedies for Human Trafficking Victims, “Promising Practices in Pro Bono Representation” (Oct. 3, 2008)

Panelist, American University Washington College of Law Founders’ Celebration, “The New U Visa Regulations: Understanding Their Application and Building Collaboration” (Feb. 21, 2008)

Media

Quoted in, “‘Abuse Is a Pattern.’ Why These Nations Took the Lead in Criminalizing Controlling Behavior in Relationships,” Time Magazine, June 21, 2019

Quoted in, “The Deadly Link Between Guns and Domestic Violence,” The Crime Report, May 30, 2019

Quoted in, “Federal Prosecutors are Cracking Down on Domestic Abusers With Guns,” Slate, March 25, 2019

Quoted or cited in:

  • Trump’s DOJ Provides Free Reign to Commit Abuse and Assault Against Women With Impunity, Daily Kos, March 21, 2019
  • “Did the DOJ Change the Definition of Domestic Violence on their Website Without Explanation?,” Snopes, Jan. 24, 2019
  • “The Government has Quietly – And Drastically – Changed the Definition of Domestic Violence. Why?, Upworthy, Jan. 29, 2019
  • “Trump’s Justice Department Softens Definition of Domestic Violence – Hardly Anyone Notices,” Crypto Coin Discovery, Jan. 29, 2019
  • “The Trump Administration Quietly Redefines ‘Domestic Violence’ and ‘Sexual Assault,’” Patheos, Jan. 26, 2019
  • “Trump Administration ‘Rolling Back Women’s Rights by 50 Years’ by Changing Definitions of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault,” The Independent-UK, Jan. 25, 2019
  • The Trump Administration Has Narrowed Its Definition of Domestic Violence to Just Physical Violence,” The Slot, Jan. 25, 2019
  • “Trump Administration Quietly Changes Definition of "Domestic Violence" and "Sexual Assault,” Salon, Jan. 23, 2019

Interviewed on CAP Impact Podcast, “Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors and Enforcing Gun Laws in Texas,” Jan. 24, 2019

Quoted in, “Thousands of Migrants Will be Housed in Temporary Camps at Two Texas Military Bases,” Dallas Morning News, June 25, 2018

Quoted in “What We Know – And Don’t – About the Consequences of Trump’s Executive Order,” Dallas Morning News, June 21, 2018

Interviewed on CBS 11 News, “Some Believe There’s a Connection Between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings,” November 7, 2017

Interviewed on CBS 11 News, “Experts Discuss Solutions to Mass Shootings,” Nov. 6, 2017

Quoted in “Murder of 8 in Plano Shows Family Violence Extends Beyond an Abusive Relationship,” Dallas Morning News, Sept. 16, 2017

Interviewed on Fox 4 News, “SMU Professor Discusses Travel Ban Allowed to Take Effect by Supreme Court,” June 27, 2017

Interviewed on The Texas Standard, “A Program to Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers Hasn’t Fulfilled its Promise,” May 26, 2017

Interviewed on Fox 4 News, “Study: Dallas County Gun Confiscation Program from Domestic Violence Offenders Falls Short,” May 24, 2017

Quoted in “Dallas County Plan to Disarm Domestic Abusers Seizes Just 60 Guns in 2 Years – A Fraction of Goal,” Dallas Morning News, May 24, 2017

Quoted in “SMU Law Professor, Students Volunteer to Help Detained Immigrants,” The Texas Lawyer, March 22, 2017

Interviewed on NBC 5 News, “SMU Law Students Skip Spring Break to Help Undocumented Women and Children Detained in South Texas,” March 10, 2017

Quoted in “Law Students Plan to Spent Spring Break Representing Immigrant Families Pro Bono, ABA Journal, March 7, 2017

Quoted in “Estudiantes de SMU Asesoraran a Familias Detenidas Por ICE en Karnes,” Al Dia Dallas, March 7, 2017

Interviewed on CBS 11 News, “A Closer Look At President Trump’s Executive Order Involving Travel Ban,” Jan. 30, 2017

Quoted in “SMU Law Professors Ask Senate to Block Trump’s Pick for Attorney General,” Dallas Morning News, Jan. 5, 2017

Featured in “Behind the Case: FGM Victim Receives Protection After Rare Attorney General Involvement,” AILA Voice Magazine, July/August 2011

Featured in “Domestic Violence in America,” Voice of America News Urdu, Nov. 22, 2010

Quoted in "Over 35 Women Flee Violent Homes Thanks to Local Group" Falls Church News Press (November 18, 2009)

Quoted in “U-Visa Program for Crime Victims Falters,” LA Times, Jan. 26, 2009