Faculty Directory

Kari E. Hong

Assistant Professor


Kari Hong is an assistant professor of law at Boston College Law School. An expert in immigration law, criminal law, and family law, Professor Hong’s scholarship focuses on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, the intersection of family law and immigration law, and contemporary matters in criminal law. Her articles have been published in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, and the University of Virginia Law Review. The New Jersey Supreme Court has cited her work. She has served as a commentator on television, radio, and in print.

In addition, she founded and runs the BC Ninth Circuit Appellate Program, which provides pro bono representation to non-citizens with criminal convictions. A central criticism of immigration law is that it treats hundreds of crimes the same, failing to take into account that state and federal judges consider specific offenses not serious or deserving of probation instead of incarceration. The clinic’s mission is to use federal court advocacy to restore proportionality and common sense into the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Notable decisions include Lopez-Valencia v. Lynch, 798 F.3d 863 (9th Cir. 2015) (holding Cal. Pen. Code § 484(a) overbroad and indivisible) (Kelly Schwartz ’15 and Jeremy Sanders ’15) and Vera-Valdevinos v. Lynch, No. 14-73861, (9th Cir. 2016) (holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3408 is overbroad and indivisible as an aggravated felony and deportability ground) (Jovalin Dedaj ’16 and Cristina Manzano ‘16).


Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Hong owned her own firm with offices in California and Oregon. In private practice, Professor Hong prepared nearly 100 actions in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, representing non-citizens in asylum, removal defense, and citizenship claims and criminal defendants accused of white collar crimes, violent felonies, and drug-related offenses. In the California courts, she prepared nearly 50 state criminal appeals, which included clients who had been convicted of serious felonies and those on death row.

Among her published decisions, Professor Hong prevailed in Ridore v. Holder, 696 F.3d 907 (9th Cir. 2012), which established that BIA must apply its clear error standard to review factual findings, that Matter of J-E- may be rebutted with contemporary evidence, and that government acquiescence may be inferred when a foreign government has a policy to subject U.S. criminal deportees to indefinite detention in deplorable prison conditions. Moreover, she prevailed in Tyson v. Holder, 670 F.3d. 1015 (9th Cir. 2012), which held that the protections of INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 (2001) are not limited to the plea context and may be available to non-citizens who were tried by stipulated facts.

Before entering private practice, she clerked for the Honorable Jeremy Fogel, U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California and the Honorable Sidney Thomas, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.