Eleanor Acer, Director, Human Rights First, Refugee Protection Program
Jeanne A. Butterfield, Legislative/Policy Director, Reform Immigration For America
Phyllis Coven, Acting Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning, Department of Homeland Security
Tara Magner, Senior Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
David A. Martin, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security
Jocelyn McCalla, President, JMC Strategies, LLC
Margie McHugh, Co-Director, Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy
Kathleen Newland, Director, MPI’s Migrants, Migration and Development Program
Juan Osuna, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Immigration Litigation
Maria Odom, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President and Co-Founderm, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Lawrence A. Schneider, Senior Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
Andrew Schoenholtz, Deputy Director, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University
Eric Schwartz, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Wendy Young, Executive Director, Kids in Need of Defense
Eleanor Acer is the Director of Human Rights First’s (HRF) Refugee Protection Program, where she supervises Human Rights First’s pro bono representation program and its advocacy on issues relating to the human rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. Under Ms. Acer’s leadership, Human Rights First has – in partnership with its committed network of pro bono lawyers - obtained asylum for more than 90% of HRF’s refugee clients. Ms. Acer speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to U.S. asylum law and policy. Most recently, she co-authored Human Rights First’s 2009 report U.S. Detention of Asylum Seekers and its 2010 Recommendations on the 30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act, and has drafted and/or contributed to other Human Rights First reports addressing a range of issues including the resettlement of refugees from Iraq and the impact of the “terrorism” bars on refugees and asylum seekers. Before coming to Human Rights First, Ms. Acer was an associate handling federal litigation at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP. She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law (1988) and her B.A. in History from Brown University (1984). In 2007, she was awarded the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Award by Fordham Law School.
Jeanne A. Butterfield is presently a Senior Advisor to the National Immigration Forum, the nation’s preeminent immigration advocacy organization in Washington D.C. At the Forum, she is currently serving as Legislative/Policy Director for the national “Reform Immigration For America” Campaign.
Ms. Butterfield served as the Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Washington D.C. from 1997 through June 2009, and before that was AILA’s Director of Advocacy from 1993 through 1996. She completed her law degree at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Massachusetts bar.
Prior to coming to AILA in 1993, Ms. Butterfield served as the Executive Director for the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) in Boston, Massachusetts. In that capacity, she worked with members of the private bar to secure pro-bono representation for asylum applicants and reduced-fee representation for those in detention facing deportation on account of criminal convictions. While at PAIR, Ms. Butterfield assisted AILA in leading a human rights delegation to Haiti to document the refugee situation and to examine the refugee processing system prior to the restoration of democracy there.
Ms. Butterfield served as the Legal Director at Centro Presente, a Central American Refugee Center in the Boston area, from 1986 until 1989, and then worked in private immigration practice for several years prior to serving at the PAIR Project. She served as Program Coodinator for the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild from 1982 to 1985, and also served for several years as the update author of the legal treatise Immigration Law and Crimes, published by Clark Boardman Ltd.
Over the past three decades, Ms. Butterfield has worked extensively on the whole range of immigration policy issues facing our nation—employment- and family-based immigration and refugee and asylum protection. She met frequently with the various government agencies that implement our immigration laws, and worked with them to assure that our laws and procedures are applied and implemented efficiently and fairly. She continues to be a leading member of a broad-based coalition working closely with both Republican and Democratic allies on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.
Ms. Butterfield served for several years on the Board of the American Immigration Law Foundation, now called the American Immigration Council, a non-profit organization that educates the public about the value of immigration to our country through its Immigration Policy Center, and that provides litigation and legal advocacy through its Legal Action Center.
She also served for several years on the Board of the National Immigration Forum, and served as an expert resource to the bipartisan Independent Task Force on Immigration Reform, convened by the Migration Policy Institute and co-chaired by former U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.
Ms. Butterfield has appeared frequently in the print and broadcast media, and continues to lecture and speak at events and conferences around the country in support of immigration reform.
Muzaffar Chishti, a lawyer, is Director of MPI’s office at New York University School of Law. His work focuses on US immigration policy, the intersection of labor and immigration law, civil liberties, and immigrant integration. Prior to joining MPI, Mr. Chishti was Director of the Immigration Project of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). Mr. Chishti currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Law Center, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Asian American Federation of New York. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Forum, and as a member of the Coordinating Committee on Immigration of the American Bar Association.
Mr. Chishti has testified extensively on immigration policy issues before various congressional committees. In 1992, as part of a US team, he assisted the Russian Parliament in drafting its legislation on forced migrants and refugees. He is a 1994 recipient of the New York State Governor's Award for Outstanding Asian Americans, and a 1995 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. His publications include: America's Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties, and National Unity After September 11 (co-authored); "Guest Workers in the House of Labor" in the New Labor Forum; "The Role of States in US Immigration Policy" in the NYU Annual Survey of American Law (2002); “Employer Sanctions Against Immigrant Workers” in WorkingUSA, and "Rights or Privileges," in the special issue on the Promise of Immigration in The Boston Review. Mr. Chishti was educated at St. Stephen's College, Delhi; the University of Delhi; Cornell Law School; and the Columbia School of International Affairs.
Donald Kerwin is Vice President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), overseeing MPI’s national and international programs. Mr. Kerwin has written extensively on a variety of topics related to migration, his most recent publications at MPI include Immigrant Detention: Can ICE Meet its Legal Imperatives and Case Management Responsibilities? (co-authored, September 2009) and DHS and Immigration: Taking Stock and Correcting Course (co-authored, February 2009).
Prior to joining MPI, Mr. Kerwin worked for more than 16 years at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), serving as Executive Director for nearly 15 years. Upon his arrival at CLINIC in 1992, Mr. Kerwin directed CLINIC’s political asylum project for Haitians. He became CLINIC’s Executive Director in December 1993 and during his tenure, CLINIC coordinated the nation’s largest programs for political asylum, detainee services, immigration appeals, and naturalization. Mr. Kerwin is a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Immigration Task Force, on the Board of Directors of Jesuit Refugee Services-USA, and an Associate Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center. Mr. Kerwin is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University and a 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Tara Magner is Senior Counsel to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Her issue responsibilities include immigration, refugee protection, and national security matters. After the 2008 election, Professor Magner was a member of President Obama’s Transition Policy Working Group on Immigration. From 2007 to 2009, she served as a Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Georgetown University Law Center.
David A. Martin is the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, having taken up that post in January 2009 after service on the President-Elect’s transition team reviewing the department. He also holds a Chair at the University of Virginia as the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law (currently on leave). He is a graduate of DePauw University and the Yale Law School, where he was elected editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. Following clerkships with Judge J. Skelly Wright and Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and a period of private practice in Washington, D.C., Martin served from 1978 to 1980 as special assistant in the human rights bureau of the U.S. Department of State. As a member of the Virginia faculty since 1980, he has published numerous works on immigration, refugees, international law, and constitutional law. These include a leading casebook on U.S. immigration and citizenship law, now in its sixth edition, a casebook on refugee law published in 2007, and a co-edited volume called Immigration Stories (2005), which recounts the human drama, litigation strategies, and political context surrounding well-known immigration cases from the Chinese Exclusion era to the present day. From August 1995 to January 1998, he took leave from the University to serve as General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He served as a consultant to the Department of Justice in 1993 on a project that led to major changes in US procedures for political asylum, and in 2004 completed a lengthy report commissioned by the Department of State on reforms for the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
Jocelyn (Juny) McCalla is President/CEO of JMC Strategies, a grassroots campaign consulting service. He also serves as Senior Advisor to Haiti’s Special Envoy to the United Nations. He is an expert on Haitian and Dominican politics, international human rights, immigration and immigrants rights issues, HIV and AIDS, lawmaking and policymaking. He was the Executive Director for the National Coalition for Haitian Rights and has worked with the African Jesuit AIDS Network, the South East Asian Resource Action Center, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Strategic Solutions Washington, the National Immigration Forum, the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network and the Haitian Studies Association among others.
Margie McHugh is Co-Director of the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. The Center is a national hub for government, community, business, and academic leaders seeking to obtain information and skills that will help them respond to the challenges and opportunities that today’s high rates of immigration pose for communities across the United States.
Prior to joining MPI, Ms. McHugh served for 15 years as executive director of The New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella organization for over 150 groups in New York that uses research, policy development, and community mobilization efforts to address immigrant integration and immigration policy concerns. Before that, she served as deputy director of New York City’s 1990 Census Project and as the executive assistant to New York Mayor Koch’s chief of staff.
Doris Meissner, former Commissioner of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), is a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) where she directs MPI's work on US immigration policy. She also contributes to the Institute's work on immigration and national security, the politics of immigration, administering immigration systems and government agencies, and cooperation with other countries. Ms. Meissner has authored and co-authored numerous reports, articles, and op-eds and is frequently quoted in the media. She served as Director of MPI's Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, a bipartisan group of distinguished leaders. The group's report and recommendations address how to harness the advantages of immigration for a 21st-century economy and society.
From 1993 to 2000, she served in the Clinton administration as Commissioner of the INS, then part of the US Department of Justice. Her accomplishments included reforming the nation's asylum system, creating new strategies for managing US borders, improving services for immigrants, and shaping new responses to migration and humanitarian emergencies. She first joined the Department of Justice in 1973 as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the Attorney General and then served in various senior policy posts at Justice, including Acting Commissioner and Executive Associate Commissioner of INS. In 1986, she joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a Senior Associate. Ms. Meissner created the Endowment's Immigration Policy Project, which became MPI in 2001. She earned BA and MA degrees at UW-Madison, where she began her professional career as Assistant Director of student financial aid. She was also the first Executive Director of the National Women's Political Caucus.
Kathleen Newland is Co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute and directs MPI's programs on migrants, migration, and development and comprehensive protection for refugees and internally displaced people. Her work focuses on the relationship between migration and development, governance of international migration, and refugee protection. Previously, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she was a Senior Associate and then Co-director of the International Migration Policy Program (1994-2001). She sits on the Board of the International Rescue Committee, and is a Chair Emerita of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. She is also on the Board of the Foundation for the Hague Process on Migrants and Refugees. Prior to joining the Migration Program at the Carnegie Endowment in 1994, Ms. Newland worked as an independent consultant for such clients as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Bank, and the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. From 1988-1992, Ms. Newland was on the faculty of the London School of Economics. During that time, she also co-founded (with Lord David Owen) and directed Humanitas, an educational trust dedicated to increasing awareness of international humanitarian issues. From 1982 to 1988, she worked at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan. She began her career at Worldwatch Institute in 1974. Ms. Newland is the author or editor of six books, including the first State of the World’s Refugees for UNHCR in 1993, and No Refuge: The Challenge of Internal Displacement for the United Nations in 2003. She has also written eleven shorter monographs as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Ms. Newland is a graduate of Harvard University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She did additional graduate work at the London School of Economics.
Maria Odom is the Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). She is an experienced immigration attorney, having spent years representing immigrants, including: asylum seekers, detained individuals, religious workers, juveniles, victims of domestic violence, and corporations seeking to bring essential workers to the U.S. Ms. Odom has served at the Executive Office for Immigration Review and as an Assistant District Counsel for the legacy U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. After her government service, Ms. Odom established a successful multi-state private practice with a focus on removal defense and immigration litigation. For her work, she was named Georgia’s 2008 Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year. As CLINIC’s Executive Director, Ms. Odom is a board member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration. She is a native of Puerto Rico and lives in Washington DC.
Juan P. Osuna is Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) at the U.S. Department of Justice. He was appointed to that position by Attorney General Holder in June 2009. As DAAG, he oversees civil immigration-related litigation in the federal courts. He also chairs the Deputy Attorney General’s Working Group on Immigration Policy, which coordinates immigration policy matters within the Department of Justice, as well as with other federal agencies. Previously, Mr. Osuna was Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative tribunal on immigration law in the United States. He was appointed to that position by Attorney General Mukasey in 2008, after serving as Acting Chairman for two years. Mr. Osuna was first appointed to the BIA by Attorney General Reno in 2000. Before that, Mr. Osuna was a senior manager with West Group (now Thomson West), the largest legal publisher in the United States, where he oversaw a number of publications and other legal resources, including prestigious immigration law publications, and managed West’s editorial operations in Washington, D.C. In addition to his duties at the Department of Justice, Mr. Osuna teaches immigration policy at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Osuna holds a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law and a master’s degree in law and international affairs from American University’s School of International Service. He is a member of the Pennsylvania bar.
Demetrios G. Papademetriou is the President and Co-Founder of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a Washington-based think tank dedicated exclusively to the study of international migration. He is also the convener of the Transatlantic Council on Migration and its predecessor, the Transatlantic Task Force on Immigration and Integration (co-convened with the Bertelsmann Stiftung). The Council is composed of senior public figures, business leaders, and public intellectuals from Europe, the United States, and Canada. Dr. Papademetriou is also the Co-Founder and International Chair Emeritus of Metropolis: An International Forum for Research and Policy on Migration and Cities. He also serves as Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Migration.
Dr. Papademetriou holds a PhD in Comparative Public Policy and International Relations (1976) and has taught at the universities of Maryland, Duke, American, and New School for Social Research. He has held a wide range of senior positions that include: Chair of the Migration Committee of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Director for Immigration Policy and Research at the US Department of Labor and Chair of the Secretary of Labor's Immigration Policy Task Force; and Executive Editor of the International Migration Review.
Dr. Papademetriou has published more than 250 books, articles, monographs, and research reports on migration topics and advises senior government and political party officials in more than 20 countries, including numerous European Union Member States while they hold the rotating EU presidency. His most recent books include Immigration Policy in the Federal Republic of Germany: Negotiating Membership and Remaking the Nation (co-author, 2010); Gaining from Migration: Towards a New Mobility System, OECD Development Center (co-author, 2007); Immigration and America's Future: A New Chapter (2006, co-author); Europe and its Immigrants in the 21st Century: A New Deal or a Continuing Dialogue of the Deaf? (2006, editor and author); Secure Borders, Open Doors: Visa Procedures in the Post-September 11 Era (2005, co-author), NAFTA's Promise and Reality (2003, co-author), America's Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties, and National Unity after September 11 (2003, co-author); and Caught in the Middle: Border Communities in an Era of Globalization (2001, senior editor and co-author).
Lawrence Schneider is a senior partner at Arnold & Porter LLP, in Washington, DC, and head of the firm's international trade practice. His thirty-five years of experience has included representation of clients in a full range of litigation, international trade, customs, legislative, and policy issues, including disputes under various import laws. Mr. Schneider is recognized as a leading lawyer in his field by publications such as Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2010 for International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy; The Legal 500 US 2009 for Litigation: International Trade; The International Who's Who of Trade and Customs Lawyers 2009; and The Best Lawyers in America 2010 for International Trade and Finance Law. Mr. Schneider also developed and leads Arnold & Porter’s extensive, award-winning pro bono immigration practice, for which he received the District of Columbia Bar’s International Law Section’s 2003 Community Service Award for Outstanding International Law-Oriented Community Service and Public Outreach Work. Mr. Schneider also led the Arnold & Porter team that prepared the report for the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration on “Reforming the Immigration System: Proposals to Promote Independence, Fairness, Efficiency, and Professionalism in the Adjudication of Removal Cases” (release date: February 2010)
Andrew I. Schoenholtz is a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown Law, where he directs the Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies as well as the Center for Applied Legal Studies. He is also the Deputy Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration. He teaches courses on Refugee Law and Policy, Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies, and Immigration Law and Policy. Prior to teaching at Georgetown, Professor Schoenholtz served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and practiced immigration, asylum and international law with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling. He has conducted fact-finding missions in Haiti, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia, Malawi, and Zambia to study root causes of forced migration, refugee protection, long-term solutions to mass migration emergencies, and humanitarian relief operations. He researches and writes regularly on refugee law and policy. His publications include: Refugee Roulette: Disparities in Asylum Adjudication (co-author); Refugee Protection in the United States Post-September 11th; The Uprooted: Improving Humanitarian Responses to Forced Migration (chapter on “Improving Legal Frameworks”); and Aiding and Abetting Persecutors: The Seizure and Return of Haitian Refugees in Violation of the U.N. Refugee Convention and Protocol. Dr. Schoenholtz holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Brown University.
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Schwartz served as Executive Director of the Connect U.S. Fund, a foundation/NGO partnership focused on foreign policy and international affairs. From 2005 to 2007, he served as the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery. In that role, he worked under the UN’s Special Envoy, former President Bill Clinton, to promote coordination, accountability to donors and beneficiaries, and best practices in the recovery effort. Before that appointment, Mr. Schwartz served as a lead expert for the Congressionally mandated Mitchell-Gingrich Task Force on United Nations Reform.
In 2003, Mr. Schwartz served at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, after then-High Commissioner, Sergio Vieira de Mello asked him to join the organization. In the year following Vieira de Mello’s 2003 assassination in Baghdad, Mr. Schwartz served as second-ranking official at UNHCHR headquarters, overseeing a variety of planning and budget activities during an exceptionally difficult transition period. From 2001 through 2003, Mr. Schwartz held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Council on Foreign Relations, completing articles and book chapters on peace operations, humanitarian issues, and refugee policy. As a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, he directed the Independent Task Force on Post-Conflict Iraq, working closely with Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Dr. James Schlesinger, co-chairs of the Task Force. During this period, he also served as a contributor to the Responsibility to Protect Project of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.
From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Schwartz served at the National Security Council, ultimately as Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs. He played a central role in managing Administration responses on a range of peacekeeping, humanitarian and refugee issues, including U.S. support for and involvement in the international, UN-mandated deployment in East Timor, the U.S. train and equip program for West African troops in Sierra Leone, the rescue of Kurdish refugees from Northern Iraq, the resettlement of Vietnamese boat people, the safe haven program for Haitian refugees and U.S. relief efforts in Central America and Kosovo.
From 1989 to 1993, Mr. Schwartz served as Staff Consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs. Prior to his work on the Subcommittee, he served as Washington Director of the human rights organization Asia Watch (now known as Human Rights Watch-Asia). He holds a law degree from New York University School of Law, where he was a recipient of a Root-Tilden Scholarship for commitment to public service through law; a Master of Public Affairs degree (with a specialization in International Relations) from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (where he also taught periodically between 2001 and 2009); and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in Political Science from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Mr. Schwartz is married and has two daughters.
Wendy Young, since 2009 has served as the Executive Director of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nongovernmental organization founded in Fall 2008 by the Microsoft Corporation and actress Angelina Jolie to provide legal services and advocacy to the thousands of immigrant and refugee children who arrive alone in the United States each year.
Ms. Young has spent two decades advocating for strong U.S. immigration and refugee laws, policies, and practices. Prior to joining KIND, Ms. Young worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy as his Chief Counsel on Immigration Policy for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. She also has served as the Coordinator for U.S. Government Relations for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in which capacity she advocated for robust U.S. support of refugee communities and UNHCR’s global operations. She also has worked on immigration and refugee policy and legislation for the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of La Raza, and the Refugee Policy Group.
Her work has been recognized by her colleagues on numerous occasions. She is the recipient of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s annual Human Rights Award, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center’s annual advocacy award, and was bestowed a Certificate of Recognition by the American Bar Association for her work on behalf of immigrant and refugee children.
Ms. Young is a graduate of Williams College and holds J.D. and M.A. degrees from the American University.