Professor Legomsky Assisting Belize In Forming Immigration Policy

July 2006

Country Heading Up Model City Project

Stephen H. LegomskyLaw professor Stephen Legomsky is part of a team of Washington University, Harvard, and Dartmouth faculty working with officials in the Central American country of Belize on a project to create an autonomous model city out of the Belizean jungle. Formerly British Honduras, Belize gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. The country struggles with high levels of poverty and unemployment, as well as territorial disputes with Guatemala. Legomsky is sharing his internationally recognized expertise on immigration law and policy.

“This summer, other team members and I met with cabinet ministers and other government officials to pin down the details of the autonomy that the city will enjoy,” said Legomsky, the Charles F. Nagel Professor of International and Comparative Law. “The new city will have about 150,000 inhabitants in a country whose total current population is only 280,000, so we’ll be depending heavily on immigration.

“My role is to formulate a proposed immigration law for the city,” he continued. “The toughest challenge is to make sure that Belizean workers have first crack at the new jobs while recruiting the many additional foreign workers who will be needed. The city will offer its residents free health care and free education, and it will be an environmental model, as well. Our hope is that this enterprise will not only stimulate the Belizean economy, but also serve as a model for third-world development elsewhere.”

Also this summer, Legomsky spent a week at the Australian National University College of Law, in Canberra, as its inaugural Distinguished Visiting Mentor. He gave several group presentations to the law faculty and to the National Defense College and met one-on-one with various law faculty members to help them formulate their research and teaching agendas.

Additionally, he spoke on United States compliance with international refugee law at a conference in Las Vegas; traveled to San Antonio to accept the Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching award, given annually by the American Immigration Lawyers Association to one immigration law professor; and gave a presentation to the Association’s annual conference at the awards ceremony. He then traveled to Bellagio, Italy to give a presentation at a German Marshall Fund workshop on the subject of migration and national security.