Kristin Collins is a professor of law at the University of Michigan. She teaches and writes in the areas of immigration and citizenship law, federal courts, civil procedure, and legal history.
She is currently writing Blood and Nation: The Making of the Citizen Family in American Law, a book that traces how family ties have played a crucial, if contested, role in the regulation of citizenship and immigration. Debates over the relationship between family status, citizenship, and immigration rights have been fierce and have pulled in different directions. For some people claiming American citizenship and immigration rights, parentage or ancestry has been used as a thinly veiled tool of ethnic and racial exclusion. For others, it has served as a tool of inclusion, helping families traverse oceans, deserts, and borders together. Attending to these historical contests helps us better understand the enormously important tension between the nation’s power to exclude noncitizens and the family’s right to reside together—a tension that has been at the center of several high-profile immigration debates in recent years.
Collins regularly serves as an adviser and friend of the court in litigation concerning immigration and citizenship law. The US Supreme Court as well as lower federal courts have cited her scholarship. Collins has drafted legislation that, if enacted, will help end sex and illegitimacy discrimination in US citizenship and immigration law. That bill, The Equal Citizenship for Children Act of 2023, was introduced in the House of Representatives during the 118th Congress. Collins’s scholarship has appeared in Harvard Law Review, The Yale Law Journal, Duke Law Journal, and Law & History Review, among other scholarly journals.
Before joining the Michigan Law faculty, Collins was a professor of law at Boston University from 2006 to 2023 and served as the associate dean for research and faculty development from 2016 to 2017. She has held visiting professorships at the Yale Law School and the University of Chicago Law School. She was the Senior Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute in 2017-2018 and a National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society in 2014. In 2000, Collins served as a senior fellow at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa in Cape Town.