Adkins-Blanch received a degree in history in 1984 and a juris doctorate in 1990 from the National Law Center, George Washington University. Straight away he began his career with the federal government and has spent his career specializing in immigration and nationality law. From 1990 to 1995 he worked for the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) as an attorney advisor, which he entered through the Attorney General's Honors Program. He served in various capacities the Office of the General Council from 1999 to 2004. Then he served as an immigration judge from 2004-2008 at the Headquarters Immigration Court. He served as BIA member from 2008 until 2013, when he was appointed as vice chairman of the Board.
To augment a course on the sociology of law and migration, Adkins-Blanch was invited to discuss the application of asylum law in the United States as well as his own trajectory into law. Adkins-Blanch shared of his two study abroad experiences, one to Taiwan and the other to Spain, and how his time at Grinnell prepared him for his career. A dozen students came to the lunch prior to class, where students were able to listen, share their career interests and ask questions.
One student asked, "How, as a judge, do you separate your emotions from a case?" Adkins-Blanch's response was simply, "you don't." He explained that if one doesn't have a heart for humankind then he or she should not be in the field. A second student inquired about how the appeals process takes place, and his lucid response outlined the process which was unfamiliar to most students.
Adkins-Blanch's expertise and time on campus certainly opened students' eyes and enhanced the curriculum of this course.