Immigration Advocates Rise to the Challenge
Washington, DC. - Immigration is definitely a hot topic, and not just in Washington. On May 20-22, 2009, more than 150 immigration legal services providers, private attorneys, and advocates will gather in Colorado Springs for the 2009 Annual Convening hosted by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).
The conference, which takes place at the Doubletree Hotel, carries the theme "Rising to the Challenge: Seeking Justice and Unity." Focused on skills training for immigration attorneys, advocates, accredited representatives and immigration program directors, the agenda includes a wide range of workshops on critical issues, such as Workplace Justice for Immigrants, daily liturgies, and an awards luncheon on Thursday May 21.
The conference will open on Wednesday, May 20, with a plenary session that features a panel discussion on national and state efforts to increase education and support for immigration reform with panel members talking about the policy initiatives surrounding immigration reform. Speakers include Kevin Appleby, policy director of Migration and Refugee Services in Washington, Chris West, community organizer with Catholic Relief Services, and Allison Posner, CLINIC's director of advocacy. They will focus on the efforts of unions and the Church to mobilize support and educate the public about the need for immigration reform.
Other speakers will highlight the work of Colorado advocates to promote immigration reform and discuss challenges facing immigration advocates such as state and local anti-immigrant legislation and expanding enforcement efforts. Speakers on this topic include Patricia Medige, director of Colorado Legal Services and a member of the Immigration Working Group established by Governor Bill Ritter Jr. and Mekala Goehring, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.
"This important and timely conference brings together a diversity of advocates, from those that work on the front line of the policy discussion to the legal services providers that provide direct services to immigrants that need help navigating the complex area of immigration law," said CLINIC's Executive Director Mark Franken.
"As a national organization, CLINIC maintains a check on the pulse of the challenges advocates face in states and on the local level. These types of events are aimed at connecting the national policy efforts with the local, grassroots, advocacy projects," said Franken. "These collaborations and connections are important for representing all those that work on this very important issue."
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