Charles “Shane” Ellison joined the Duke Law faculty in 2020 in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. In addition to the clinic, he also teaches a course on the intersection of race and immigration policy. Ellison formerly directed Creighton Law School’s Immigrant and Refugee Clinic through a collaborative partnership with the Immigrant Legal Center (ILC), where he served as legal director and lead attorney for more than nine years. During his tenure at ILC, he helped it grow from a four-employee organization to one of the largest nonprofit immigration law firms in the Midwest.
Ellison’s advocacy work contributed to the passage of three significant legislative initiatives that advanced immigrants’ rights in Nebraska: LB 623, which ensures that eligible youth within the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program can obtain a driver’s license; LB 947, which opens access to professional and commercial licenses to employment-authorized immigrants; and LB 670, which protects the ability of abused, abandoned, and neglected immigrant children to secure the necessary state court order to seek Special Immigrant Juvenile status.
Additionally, while at ILC he managed the impact litigation efforts of National Justice For Our Neighbors, litigating complex immigration cases and representing immigrant rights organizations through amicus briefs before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Before coming to ILC, he worked within USCIS’s Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate in New York.
Ellison currently sits on the Amicus Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and he chairs the Asylum Litigation Working Group. He was a co-recipient of the 2023 Jack Wasserman Award, an honor given to attorneys in recognition of their excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law. As a leading scholar on asylum and refugee law, he is frequently invited to speak on the subject at national immigration law conferences. His published scholarship has appeared in the Michigan Law Review Online, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Creighton Law Review, and several practitioner-focused journals. He obtained his BA, magna cum laude, in philosophy from Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill., and his JD, cum laude, from Hofstra Law School.