Wiebe, Virgil

Virgil Wiebe

Robins Kaplan Director of Clinical Education and Professor

(651) 962-4976
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-4976

1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Office Location: MOH 100

 J.D., New York University School of Law

LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center

M.Phil., Latin American Studies, Oxford University

B.A., Kansas State University

Virgil Wiebe grew up in western Kansas and attended Kansas State University, where he received an Honors B.A. in geography and political science. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received an M.Phil. in Latin American studies from Oxford University with concentrations in geography and economics. Following time working with refugees in south Texas, he attended law school at New York University, where he was a Root-Tilden-Snow Public Interest Scholar, an International Law Fellow, and an editor of the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.

After law school, Wiebe clerked for the Honorable James C. Francis, IV, federal magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York. He then served for four years as Director of Immigration Services and Supervising Attorney for Interfaith Community Services in New York City, a non-profit organization assisting refugees and immigrants. While at ICS, Wiebe represented hundreds of immigrants before the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and in immigration court. There he also led efforts to create community-based immigration clinics in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

In 1999, Wiebe joined the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Georgetown University Law Center as an Advocacy Fellow. There he taught in the immigration clinic. In 2001, Wiebe was appointed visiting assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, where he established an in-house immigration clinic and taught criminal law.

Wiebe has been an active participant in the efforts to curb the use of landmines and cluster bombs in armed conflicts. As a consultant to the Mennonite Central Committee, he has attended United Nations conferences on landmines and conventional weapons, and has addressed diplomats on international humanitarian law matters. He has also advised non-profit organizations on establishing immigration programs for low income communities. He is active in his local congregation and various professional organizations, serves pro bono clients, and frequently presents at continuing legal education (CLE) seminars.

As director of clinical education at UST School of Law, Professor Wiebe is one of the principal architects of the University’s unique Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services. At the Center, students from the schools of Law, Graduate Professional Psychology, and Social Work provide counseling and legal services to diverse and under-served populations.

Courses Taught

Number Title Credits
832 Immigration Law 3
942 Clinic: Immigration Law Pr 6
945 Clinic:Adv Pract Immigratn 1
950 Supervised Resrch & Writing .5

Areas of Academic Expertise:

Criminal Law

From the article "Grand Ideas: Faculty members describe the best ideas from their scholarship" St. Thomas Lawyer Magazine Fall 2011

The use of cluster munitions violates international humanitarian law in nearly all cases. Cluster munitions are artillery shells, rockets or air-delivered bombs that break into small bomblets or submunitions. Because of their wide area of coverage (making them difficult to accurately target) and their high “dud” rates (converting them into dangerous unexploded ordnance), their use creates serious hazards for civilians. This idea was vindicated in 2008 with the creation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty banning cluster munitions. The CCM has been signed by 108 countries; 57 have ratified it.

Upcoming: I am researching the extent to which graduate students in mental health professions serve as expert witnesses in immigration proceedings. 

Contributions and mentions in the media

Bloomberg Businessweek - "The Logistical Nightmare of Sending 57,000 Immigrant Kids Home"

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WCCO radio - "Prof. Wiebe discusses political asylum and international refugee law"

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Minneapolis Star Tribune - "Immigration and sequestration: Accidental justice?"

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CPAC - "Foreign Affairs: In Committee from the Senate of Canada"

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Twin Cities Daily Planet - "What the arrest of immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas says about Minnesota immigration policy"

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MinnPost - "U.S. should sign, ratify treaty banning cluster bombs"

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KSTP Television - "Gadhafi Death Hits Home for Some Minnesotans"

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The Associated Press - "Legal Scholars: Obama's Immigration Action Lawful"

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Star Tribune - "Minnesota immigrants facing deportation hope for reversal"

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KSTP-TV - "Immigrants Advised to Prepare Paperwork While Waiting for Deferred Action Ruling"

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Public Radio International - "Don’t give up on Obama’s executive action on immigration, advocate says"

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NBC News - "Legal Experts: Ruling Blocking Immigration Action 'Deeply Flawed'"

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Virgil Wiebe, John Borrie & Declan Smyth, Introduction, in Gro Nysteun & Stuart Casey-Maslen ed., The Convention on Cluster Munitions: A Commentary (Oxford Univ. Press 2010).

Virgil Wiebe, Declan Smyth & Stuart Casey-Maslen, Article 1. General Obligations and Scope of Application, in Gro Nysteun & Stuart Casey-Maslen ed., The Convention on Cluster Munitions: A Commentary (Oxford Univ. Press 2010).

Virgil Wiebe, Maybe You Should, Yes You Must, No You Can’t: Shifting Standards and Practices for Assuring Document Reliability in Asylum Casesin Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook 2006-2007 (Stephanie Browning, ed., American Immigration Lawyers Association 2006).

Virgil Wiebe (with Serena Parker), Asking for a Note from Your Torturer: Corroboration and Authentication Requirements in Asylum, Withholding, and Torture Convention Cases, in Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook 2001-2002 (updated and reprinted in Immigr. Briefings, Oct. 2001).


Virgil Wiebe & Sarah S. Brenes, Mental Health Professionals and Affirmative Applications for Immigration Benefits: A Critical Review of Administrative Appeals Office Cases Involving Extreme Hardship and Mental Harm, 11-04 Immigr. Briefings 1 (2011).

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Virgil Wiebe & Sarah S. Brenes, Oath Martyrs, U. St. Thomas Legal Stud. Res. Paper No. 11-28 (2011).

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Virgil Wiebe, For Whom the Little Bells Toll: Recent Judgments by International Tribunals on the Legality of Cluster Munitions, 35 Pepp. L. Rev. 895 (2008). 

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Virgil Wiebe, Recent Trends in Cluster Munitions Regulation: 2003-2007, U. St. Thomas Legal Stud. Res. Paper No. 07-15 (2007).

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Virgil Wiebe, Maybe You Should, Yes You Must, No You Can’t: Shifting Standards and Practices for Assuring Document Reliability in Asylum Cases, 06-11 Immigr. Briefings 1 (2006).

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Virgil Wiebe, The Drops that Carve the Stone: State and Manufacturer Responsibility for the Humanitarian Impact of Cluster Munitions and Explosive Remnants of War, Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines Website (2004); U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-21 (2005).

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Virgil Wiebe, Washing Your Feet in the Blood of the Wicked: Seeking Justice and Contending with Vengeance in an Interprofessional Setting, 1 U. St. Thomas L.J. 182 (2003).

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Virgil Wiebe, Footprints of Death: Cluster Bombs as Indiscriminate Weapons Under International Humanitarian Law, 22 Mich. J. Int'l L. 85 (2000).

Virgil Wiebe, The Prevention of Civil War Through the Use of the Human Rights System, 27 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 409 (1995).

Short Pieces

Virgil Wiebe, Ain’t Goin’ Study War No More? NOT, 38.2 Peace Office Newsletter (Mennonite Central Committee), Apr.-June 2008, at 7.

The Immigration Hotel

Wiebe, Virgil, The Immigration Hotel (November 1, 2014). U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-41. 

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Virgil Wiebe, Still Thinking: Thinking About Dual Citizenship and Hospitality Can Guide a Christian Response to Immigration, The Christian Leader (2007).

Other Works

Stuart Maslen & Virgil Wiebe, Cluster Munitions: A Survey of Legal Responses (Landmine Action 2007).