20th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference
This year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Migration Policy Institute, and the Georgetown University Law Center, will take place as hybrid event on Monday, September 18.
The conference will feature fresh, thoughtful policy and legal analysis, and discussion of some of the top immigration issues by leading government officials, attorneys, policymakers, researchers, advocates, and other experts.
The in-person conference will be held at the Lohrfink Auditorium on Georgetown University’s Main Campus in Washington, D.C., and will also be livestreamed for virtual attendees.
Registration is $30 for virtual attendance and $85 for in-person attendance. Students with a current GUID may use the discount code “georgetownstudent” for free attendance.
Legal Representation as a Tool for Justice – Why Representation Matters
Full and fair access to immigration legal services is vital to ensure justice for asylum seekers and other migrants seeking protection in the immigration courts or immigration status before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Legal representation is also essential to the effective functioning of the immigration court system, improving outcomes and appearances at all levels — an essential element for a body that is facing more than two million pending cases. Resolution of affirmative applications before USCIS and immigration court cases takes years, and the waiting times continue to grow. For poor and low-income immigrants, there is an average of only one legal representative for 1,413 undocumented persons in the United States and this number varies greatly by state. Panelists will discuss the current state of immigration legal services and the growing need for representation. They will address the importance of investment in universal representation and the use of innovation and technology to ensure access to justice for those seeking status and protection in the United States. Legal services strengthen the integrity of the institutions which implement our immigration laws and uphold due process and international law principles. Anna Gallagher, CLINIC executive director, will lead this panel of experts.
State of Play: Dynamism and Disorder
The U.S. immigration policy space has seen a high degree of dynamism — and disorder — over the past year. Among other developments, there has been a raft of new humanitarian and legal immigration policies advanced amid record unauthorized arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, a growing recognition that migration is increasingly hemispheric in nature, the end of a pandemic-era expulsions policy that the government had come to rely upon, and continued congressional inaction on immigration. The courts have been active players, in some cases blocking prominent executive branch policies. And some states, led by Texas and Florida, have noisily entered the arena. Where is this turbulent period headed? How is the Biden administration executing its vision for a new post-pandemic strategy at the border and beyond? Is long-standing executive branch pre-eminence on immigration eroding as the courts and states assume greater roles? And where is immigration likely to stand as an issue in upcoming national elections? MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner will lead a panel of experts in tackling these and other issues.
The States Rise: Florida and Other Governments Expand Their Role in the Immigration Arena
A new era of state policymaking and operational action on immigration has begun, led by Texas and Florida, which set off tensions with state and local officials elsewhere by busing and flying asylum seekers and other migrants from the Texas-Mexico border into the U.S. interior. While state-level involvement in immigration policymaking is not new, the decisions by Florida and Texas to drop off migrants in other jurisdictions, often with little to no notice, has raised new tensions between states and with city leaders. This panel, moderated by MPI Senior Fellow Muzaffar Chishti and featuring city and NGO leaders and other experts, will examine the diverse directions states are going in. Some are advancing immigrants’ rights even as Texas installs buoys on the Rio Grande and encourages other states to send their National Guards to the border. The panel also will focus on how cities such as Chicago, Washington, and New York have addressed the arrivals of tens of thousands of migrants, the provision of services to these newcomers, and the fiscal impacts.
Humanitarian Parole and the Biden Administration’s New Lawful Pathways
Building on its humanitarian parole programs for the admission of Afghan and Ukrainian nationals, the Biden administration established such a program for Venezuelans in October 2022 and expanded it to include Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan nationals in January 2023. The “CHNV” humanitarian parole program requires a sponsor in the United States, such as a citizen or lawful permanent resident, and enables the United States to admit up to 30,000 nationals from those four countries every month. The White House announced that it is encouraging individuals “to seek orderly and lawful pathways to migration and reduce overcrowding along the southwest border and the strain on the immigration system.” Due to very high interest in the program, a significant backlog of CHNV applications developed by May 2023. According to one study, the CHNV program has already prevented the entry of hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants along the southern border with Mexico. Among other important issues, the panelists will discuss: What are the successes and challenges of these programs? What will happen to those admitted after the two years of humanitarian parole status expires? To what extent are such parolees applying for asylum or other legal immigration statuses? How are these new lawful pathways affecting the number of arrivals from these countries at the southern border with Mexico?