Ramzi Kassem is a Professor of Law at the City University of New York where he co-directs the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic.

With his students, Professor Kassem represents prisoners of various nationalities presently or formerly held at American facilities at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, at so-called “Black Sites,” and at other detention sites worldwide. In connection with these cases, Professor Kassem and his students have appeared as party counsel and submitted merits briefs before U.S. federal district and appellate courts, before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as before the military commissions at Guantánamo.

Professor Kassem also supervises the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project, which primarily aims to address the legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.

Before joining the CUNY law faculty in 2009, Professor Kassem was a Robert M. Cover Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, where he taught in the Civil Liberties & National Security Clinic as well as the Worker & Immigrant Rights & Advocacy Clinic. Professor Kassem also previously served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he taught in the International Justice Clinic.

As a Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Civil Rights Fellow at Cochran Neufeld & Scheck (now Neufeld Scheck & Brustin), Professor Kassem litigated high-impact cases stemming from wrongful convictions and police misconduct. He has also served as a legal consultant for the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Professor Kassem is a graduate of Columbia College and holds law degrees from Columbia Law School, where he was a Senior Editor for the Columbia Law Review, and from the Sorbonne. His interests include the legal and policy responses to the September 11th attacks and other national security crises, the rights of minorities and non-citizens, and international humanitarian law.



Book Chapters

Gendered Erasure in the Global "War on Terror": An Unmasked Interrogation, in Gender, National Security and Counter-Terrorism: Human Rights Perspectives (Routledge 2013).

Imposture, in The Guantánamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison, Outside the Law (NYU Press 2009).


Law Review Articles

Rebellious Lawyering in the Security State, 23 Clinical L. Rev. 671 (2017) <pdf>

Off the Record: The National Security Council, Drone Killings, and Historical Accountability , 31 Yale J. on Reg. 363 (2014).

Passport Revocation as Proxy Denaturalization: Examining the Yemen Cases , 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2099 (2014) <pdf>.

From Altruists to Outlaws: The Criminalization of Traveling Islamic Volunteers, 10 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E.L. 85 (2011), available at SSRN.

Implausible Realities: Iqbal's Entrechment of Majority Group Skepticism Towards Discrimination Claims, 114 Penn St. L. Rev. 1443 (2010), available at SSRN.


Essays & Editorials

“Terrorism”: A Word We Need to Retire, New York Daily News, November 8, 2017

France's Real State of Emergency, The New York Times, August 4, 2016

Why Terror Watchlists Won't Solve America's Gun Problem, The Washington Post, June 28, 2016

The NYPD Spied on Muslim Americans. Will a Court Settlement Change Anything?, with Hina Shamsi, The Guardian, January 8, 2016

The End of Injustice for Shaker, Al-Jazeera English, November 1, 2015

Why Shaker Aamer Must Be Freed, The Mail on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why "Guantánamo North" Is a Terrible Idea, VICE, August 24, 2015

On Flags, Fireworks, Hot Dogs, and Torture, VICE, July 7, 2015

Do High-Profile Terrorism Arrests Actually Help the Islamic State?, VICE, May 27, 2015

Three Questions You Should Ask When You Hear About a “Foiled Terrorist Plot”, VICE, March 10, 2015

”American Sniper” Should Not Be Rewarded with an Oscar, Al-Jazeera, February 19, 2015.

My Gitmo Client’s Interpreter Worked for the CIA, Al-Jazeera America, February 13, 2015.

Why We Shouldn’t Import Guantánamo: A Holistic Perspective, Lawfare, February 10, 2015.

Why Are Prisoners Who Have Been Cleared for Release Still in Guantánamo?, VICE, November 10, 2014.

A View From Gitmo, The New York Times, June 7, 2014.

A Culture of Surveillance, Huffington Post (essay commissioned by PEN America), June 6, 2014.

Spying or No Flying?, with Baher Azmy, Al-Jazeera English Online, May 7, 2014.

Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case, JURIST, March 24, 2014.

The NSC, Drone Killing Accountability and New FOIA Litigation, with Douglas Cox, JURIST, August 2, 2013.

Hungry for Justice at Guantanamo, Al-Jazeera English Online, June 6, 2013.

What Obama Should Not Say on Thursday, HuffingtonPost, May 22, 2013.

Ramzi Kassem on Chief Judge Lamberth’s Barre Decision, Lawfare, April 1, 2013.

The Controversy Around Zero Dark Thirty: As Misleading as the Film Itself, Al-Jazeera English Online, January 19, 2013.

The Problem with "Zero Dark Thirty", The Miami Herald, January 17, 2013.

The Zero Dark Thirty Controversy, Huffington Post, January 15, 2013.

The Long Roots of the NYPD Spying Program, The Nation, July 2–9, 2012.

Mayor Bloomberg's Duty to New York's Muslim Community, New York Daily News, January 9, 2012.

The Militarization of the 'War on Terror' in the U.S., Al-Jazeera English Online, December 22, 2011.

Are Muslims Allowed Rights?, with Amna Akbar, Al-Jazeera English Online, November 28, 2011.

September 11th and the Future We've Built, South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection (SAMAR), September 11, 2011.

Giving Up Liberty in the Pursuit of Security, Al-Jazeera English Online, August 25, 2011.

Kassem on the Evidence in al-Alwi's Case, Lawfare, August 8, 2011.

Obama Chains Himself to Bush Terror Policies, Al-Jazeera English Online, July 12, 2011.

Why They Call Obama a Muslim: Rule Out the Other Theories and the Elephant in the Room is Race, New York Daily News, August 22, 2010.



Clinic Faculty & Staff


Frequently Asked Questions for CUNY Students & Other New Yorkers Impacted by the Termination of DACA

September 27, 2017 – New York –
This document is a FAQ resource for CUNY students & other New Yorkers impacted by the termination of DACA. Though we still work towards permanent status for those who have been impacted by this and other destabilizing immigration policies, we have received many questions from CUNY community members who are concerned about losing status and how to potentially navigate life without documents. With this resource we hope to address initial questions that CUNY community members may have about immigration status, work authorization, professional licensing, parental planning, law enforcement interactions, healthcare and more.

If you would like to see this document translated in other languages, please let us know. We will be posting it in Spanish on our website in the coming week. This document is the product of a collaboration between the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, Health Law Practice Clinic and The Planning with Parents Project at the CUNY School of Law. Do reach out to us if you have any further questions on this and/or related matters.