Matthew Boaz Visiting Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic and Professor of Practice

Phone: 540-458-4238


Office: 333 Lewis Hall

SSRN  •  Scholarly Commons

Area of Expertise



JD, Georgetown University Law Center

BA, Texas Christian University


Professor Matthew Boaz is the Visiting Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Formerly, Prof. Boaz was a Senior Detention Attorney with the Immigrant Rights Project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Newark, NJ. During his career with AFSC, he represented hundreds of individuals detained in immigration detention facilities throughout New Jersey as part of a pilot program advocating universal representation of detained individuals in removal proceedings. The success of this program has resulted in state funding to expand this public-defender style program for immigrant detainees.

Boaz began his career as an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow in the New York City metro area. His interests include immigration detention, the interactions between the criminal justice system and immigration law, and the treatment of immigrant detainees with mental illness. Prior to his career in law, Prof. Boaz taught middle-school Spanish in Charlotte, NC. Boaz is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., with a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies) and Texas Christian University (summa cum laude, B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations). 

Recent Publications

Practical Abolition: Universal Representation as an Alternative to Immigration Detention, 89 Tenn. L. Rev. 199 (2021).

"A Practical Immigration Decarceration Approach for the New Biden Administration" (Mar. 19, 2021), University of Oxford Border Criminologies Blog.