Profile picture of Joel Sati

Joel Sati

Assistant Professor of Law

Law, Law-JD, Legal Studies
Phone: 541-346-0281
Office: 355 Knight Law Center


Joel Sati is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Professor Sati’s research and teaching interests are in Criminal Law, Immigration Law, Crimmigration, Privacy Law, and Jurisprudence. His dissertation, titled A Punishment of the Severest Kind: Immigration Enforcement, Social Degradation, and the Harm of Illegalization, develops an account of illegalization, which he defines as state practices of criminalization that use immigration enforcement as the central mechanism of social degradation.  

His other interests include moral philosophy, metaethics, and non-ideal political theory. In particular, he is developing work on the concept of hypocrisy and how people pursuing upward mobility balance living our values while compelled to make decisions that oppose those values. He is also interested in the idea that we can be bound by moral demands we will never meet, and the related idea that we have a duty to pursue justice we may never see, either in our lifetimes or at all.

Professor Sati’s interest in immigration is more than academic; he is an illegalized immigrant himself and has been an immigrant rights activist since 2012, working on campaigns at the federal level and across various states. Professor Sati was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and has lived in the United States since 2002.

Prior to joining the Oregon Law faculty, he was at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, where  he graduated with his PhD  in Jurisprudence and Social Policy in 2023. He received his Juris Doctor in 2022 from Yale Law School, where he was Symposium Editor for the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities. Professor Sati received his B.A. in Philosophy summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the City College of New York, CUNY in 2016. 

Since 2021, Professor Sati has been a fellow at the Penn-Birmingham Transatlantic Migration Fellowship. He was also a 2020-21 Fellow at the Immigration Initiative at Harvard. From 2017-19, he was a fellow with the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI). He is also a 2018 recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, and the 2019 recipient of the FOUNDATIONS OF CHANGE Thomas I. Yamashita Prize.

Professor Sati has written in national and international publications such as the Washington Post and Berkeley Blogs. He has also appeared in the Citations Needed podcast.