E.g., 12/05/2023
E.g., 12/05/2023
15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference
October 1, 2018

Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference

Multimedia Tabs


USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna keynotes 15th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference

State of Play: Immigration Center Stage - Panel 1 - 15th Immigration Law & Policy Conference

Systematic Plan to Narrow Humanitarian Protection: A New Era of U.S. Asylum Policy-Panel 2

Chilling Effects at the Border and in the U.S. Interior-Panel 3-15th Immigration Law & Policy Conference

Administrative Power: Building an Invisible Wall Around the United States

Powerpoint Files 

At a time of intense and fast-moving action on immigration, this year’s Immigration Law and Policy Conference offered an excellent opportunity to go beyond the headlines.

The 15th annual conference, held in October 2018 and organized by the Migration Policy Institute, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, offered timely policy and legal analysis from leading government officials, attorneys, policy analysts, advocates, and others.


9:00am     Keynote by L. Francis Cissna, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

9:45am     State of Play: Immigration Center Stage
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 assessed 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; CNN contributor; 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; Strategic Advisor, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

11:30am    Systematic Plan to Narrow Humanitarian Protection: A New Era of U.S. Asylum Policy 
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 discussed 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 also considered 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

2:00pm      Chilling Effects at the Border and in the U.S. Interior
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

3:40pm     Administrative Power: Building an Invisible Wall Around the United States 
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 examined 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

Abel Nuñez

Executive Director, CARECEN-Central American Resource Center

Rebecca K. Peters

Director of Government Affairs, Council for Global Immigration

Julie Kornfeld

Staff Attorney and former Skadden Fellow, International Refugee Assistance Project

Registration deadline for this event has passed.
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