Immigration Law and Policy Conference 2018 | CLINIC

Immigration Law and Policy Conference 2018

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Below you'll find links to a video recap of the 2018 sessions and keynotes:


ILPC '15 Panel


15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference


Monday, October 1, 2018    9 a.m.-5 p.m.    Georgetown Law Center


Immigration has dominated headlines this year. The administration is pressing its immigration policy agenda across the board—from the U.S.-Mexico border to consulates abroad and into the nation’s interior. State and local governments have been especially active in opposing many of the new policies, leading to high-stakes showdowns in the courts.

At a time of intense and fast-moving action on immigration, this year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference offers an excellent opportunity to go beyond the headlines with thoughtful analysis from leading experts.

The 15th annual conference, organized by the Migration Policy Institute, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, will offer timely policy and legal analysis and audience Q&A. Among the topics to be discussed: the role that immigration is playing in the mid-term elections, how the courts are handling key immigration questions, and emerging policies that may affect future legal immigration trends. 

Join us for a day of expert analysis from leading government officials, attorneys, policy analysts, advocates, and others.


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2018 Event Recap / Panel Videos


Keynote Speaker

L. Francis Cissna

Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna keynotes 15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference from Migration Policy Institute on Vimeo.




State of Play: Immigration Center Stage

Moderator: Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, US Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute

Immigration has played an uncommonly prominent role in elections and on Americans’ TV screens since the 2016 presidential campaign. Recent coverage has been non-stop due to family separations and zero-tolerance policies at the border. Heading into a highly contested election season, campaign strategists contend that immigration is the single issue that could move the conservative base and save GOP majorities in Congress. Yet polling shows a larger share of people say immigration is good for the nation than at any point since 2001. What role is immigration likely to play in the November mid-terms? Underneath national debates, the immigration landscape continues to fracture under the pressure of communities embracing different policies of cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, protection of vulnerable immigrants, and more. The federal government is pushing back by threatening to withhold federal dollars and heading into court to challenge state and local policies it views as harmful. Our panel of political and policy experts will assess these and associated political and policy trends.

Doris Meissner
Session Moderator

Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program

Maria Cardona

Democratic Political Strategist; and Principal, Dewey Square Group

William A. Galston

Co-Chair of The New Center; and Ezra K. Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

Dara Lind

Senior Reporter, Vox

Barry Jackson

Former Chief of Staff for Speaker Boehner, and former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs



Systematic Plan to Narrow Humanitarian Protection: A New Era of U.S. Asylum Policy 

Moderator: Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies; Director, Human Rights Institute; Professor from Practice, Georgetown University Law Center

The administration has acted strongly and quickly to restrict the pathways to seek and gain asylum in the United States. In Matter of A-B the Attorney General overturned a Board of Immigration Appeals case in an attempt to eliminate domestic and gang violence as grounds for granting asylum. Such serious harm is often one of the central reasons why asylum seekers, especially from Central America, flee. Other new policies include criminally prosecuting asylum seekers who cross the border unlawfully for the first time; pushing back families without valid visas who seek asylum at ports of entry (despite laws that allow people to apply for protection at legal crossing points); detaining families, including pregnant women, while they pursue an asylum claim; and imposing case completion quotas on immigration judges so that they issue asylum and other immigration decisions more quickly. Whither asylum? This panel will discuss the legal issues underpinning the asylum system changes and the immediate and longer-term effects of the administration’s actions on the U.S. asylum system. They will also consider whether the new policies are in conflict with the international treaties to which the United States is signatory and other international law obligations.

Andrew I. Schoenholtz
Session Moderator

Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Director, Human Rights Institute, and Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law

Shalyn Fluharty

Managing Attorney at the Dilley Pro Bono Project, and Director, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid's Family Detention Project

Christopher J. Hajec

Director of Litigation, Immigration Reform Law Institute

Karen Musalo

Founding Director, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, and Bank of America Chair in International Law, U.C. Hastings College of the Law



Chilling Effects at the Border and in the U.S. Interior

Moderator: Muzzaffar Chishti, Director, MPI Office at New York University School of Law

Whether at the border or in the interior, the government is taking a hardline stance: separating arriving migrant families in a bid to deter future flows from Central America; stepping up pressure on “sanctuary” jurisdictions; increasing focus on denaturalization; and releasing a public-charge ruling that could deter vast numbers of legal immigrants and their U.S.-citizen dependents from accessing public benefits. What legal and political issues do these policies raise? What is their impact likely to be? And how are immigrant communities and their representatives reacting?

Muzaffar Chishti
Session Moderator

Director, MPI's office at NYU School of Law

Jonathan Blitzer

Staff Writer, The New Yorker

Ur Jaddou,

Former Chief Counsel, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Adjunct Professor, American University School of Law; and Director, DHS Watch

James F. Peterson

Attorney, Judicial Watch

Bitta Mostofi

Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, New York City



Administrative Power: Building an Invisible Wall Around the United States

Moderator: Jill Marie Bussey, Director of Advocacy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

In its first year and a half, the Trump administration tested the limits of its power to reduce immigration, targeting longstanding humanitarian programs and scrutinizing immigration benefits. These unprecedented actions included deciding to end Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure for nationals from seven countries, attempting to terminate DACA, introducing new limitations on applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile status, releasing several iterations of the much-litigated travel ban, slashing refugee resettlement numbers, tightening visa screening guidelines, and changing H-1B processing. Many of these actions, as well as the way decisions have been implemented, have been challenged in the courts. This panel will examine the legal questions presented in litigation, as well as the consequences of these actions domestically and abroad.

Jill Bussey
Session Moderator

Director of Advocacy, CLINIC

H.E. Paul G. Altidor

Ambassador of Haiti to the United States

Rebecca K. Peters

Director of Government Affairs, Council for Global Immigration

Julie Kornfeld

Staff Attorney and former Skadden Fellow, International Refugee Assistance Project