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2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Although the Catholic Church has welcomed newcomers since the very founding of our nation, since 1965 alone MRS has assisted over 1 million refugees to begin new lives in the United States through its nationwide network of affiliated partner agencies.  In more recent years, MRS has greatly expanded its service network to respond to the plight of thousands of unaccompanied children and victims of human trafficking.  MRS has also been a leading advocate for fair and just policies, both nationally and internationally, that serve to protect and uphold the fundamental rights of migrants, immigrants, refugees, human trafficking victims, and other vulnerable persons on the move.  

Please join  us on November 19th, to help Migration and Refugee Services celebrate our 50th Anniversary!
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Thursday, November 19 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Looking Ahead to the Future: Unaccompanied Children and Families

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This panel will explore the issues inherent in the migration of unaccompanied children, including the sociological factors that contributed to the phenomenon, particularly the influx of children from Central America to the United States.  It will highlight the impact on children and families and the ways that the Church and its partners responded and will offer varying perspectives on the government response.  Additionally, the panel will consider the possibilities for future flows, how to respond collaboratively, and what steps need to be taken now to enhance capacity to respond to future crises.   


Speakers
avatar for Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ

Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ

Executive Director, Humanitarian Crisis Relief Center, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley
Sr. Norma is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Diocese of Brownsville, TX. Under her leadership, Catholic Charities operates a respite center to meet the basic needs of migrants, mostly women and children, arriving in large numbers across the Southwest border with the help of the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, TX.  Through the heroic efforts of many volunteers and the receipt of generous donations, the... Read More →
avatar for Ericka Santoyo Ramirez

Ericka Santoyo Ramirez

College Student
Ericka Santoyo Ramirez is currently a college student in Richmond, Virginia who came to the United States as an unaccompanied child from Honduras.  She was provided services by the Commonwealth Catholic Charities Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program in the Richmond Diocese.
avatar for C. Mario Russell

C. Mario Russell

Director, Immigrant and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York
Mario Russell is the Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  He also teaches at the Refugee and Immigrant Rights Litigation Clinic at the St. John’s University School of Law and the New York Law School.  Additionally, Mr. Russell conducts federal and state legislative advocacy on issues such as comprehensive immigration reform and other refugee protection issues... Read More →
avatar for Wendy Young

Wendy Young

President, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Wendy Young is the current President of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Ms. Young brings extensive immigration policy experience to her role at KIND. Most recently, she served as Chief Counsel on Immigration Policy in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. She held prior immigration policy positions with organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for... Read More →


Thursday November 19, 2015 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Grand Ballroom North Central