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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
 

8:00am

Continental Breakfast
Thursday November 19, 2015 8:00am - 9:00am
Grand Ballroom Foyer

8:00am

9:00am

Opening Program and Remarks

Welcome – William Canny, Executive Director of Migration and Refugee Services

Prayer – Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Migration

Opening Remarks - Most Rev. Nicolas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, Bishops’ Committee on Migration, Former Executive Director of MRS

 


Speakers
avatar for William Canny

William Canny

Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
William (Bill) Canny is the current Executive Director of Migration and Refugee Services. He has worked for over 25 years for agencies in service to the Catholic Church  and to refugees and migrants through his previous positions at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the International Catholic Migration Commission, and the Papal Foundation.
avatar for Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio

Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio

Bishop, Diocese of Brooklyn
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the seventh Bishop of Brooklyn, is a forceful voice on behalf of migrants and immigrants, whose causes he has worked for through most of his priestly ministry. By appointing the Bishop to serve as the spiritual leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Pope John Paul II recognized both Brooklyn’s popular status as a Diocese of Immigrants, as well as the Bishop’s skill in responding to the needs of newcomers from... Read More →
avatar for Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo

Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo

Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Seattle
Bishop Elizondo is currently Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Migration and the Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle. He is the first Hispanic bishop in Seattle. He also serves as the Vicar General, the Vicar for Hispanic Ministries and the Vicar for Vocations of the Archdiocese.


Thursday November 19, 2015 9:00am - 9:30am
Grand Ballroom North Central

9:30am

The MRS Refugee Program at 50

This panel will begin with a retrospective on MRS’ history of resettling refugees followed by analysis of contemporary and future issues facing refugees and the U.S. resettlement program. As refugee flows have shifted and new crises emerge, MRS and its national resettlement network have responded to the changing needs of the refugee arriving to the United States. This panel will explore how MRS resettlement affiliates have addressed issues locally and mobilized Catholic parish support to assist newly arriving refugees. Furthermore, the panel will touch upon current and anticipated issues facing our country as it prepares to aid the highest number of refugees in decades, due in part to the Syrian crisis.


Speakers
avatar for Aden Batar

Aden Batar

Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Director, Catholic Community Services of Salt Lake City
Aden Batar currently serves as the Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Director for Catholic Community Services of Salt Lake City, UT.  As a Somali refugee himself, Batar has first hand experience with fleeing a country due to civil war and then going through the refugee resettlement process in Utah.  Batar grew up in Somalia and then graduated with his law degree from Somali National University. In 1990, shortly after Batar... Read More →
avatar for Beth Ferris

Beth Ferris

Senior Fellow, Georgetown University
Beth Ferris is currently a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University.  Formerly she served as the co-director of the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement.  At Brookings she focused on the international community’s response to humanitarian crises, with a particular emphasis on the human rights of internally displaced persons. Her most recent book is “The Politics of Protection: The Limits of Humanitarian... Read More →
avatar for Simon Henshaw

Simon Henshaw

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
Mr. Henshaw is a career officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, currently serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. His previous assignment was Director of Andean Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. From 2008 to 2011, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Mr. Henshaw joined the State Department in 1985... Read More →
avatar for Fr. Rick Ryscavage, SJ

Fr. Rick Ryscavage, SJ

Director, Center for Faith and Public Life, Fairfield University
Father Ryscavage is a Professor of Sociology and International Studies Director at Fairfield University and Director of The Center for Faith and Public Life, which addresses public issues where politics and religion intersect. Father Ryscavage served as national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. He set up the first program to provide religious coordinators for immigration detention facilities of the US Department of Homeland Security... Read More →


Thursday November 19, 2015 9:30am - 11:00am
Grand Ballroom North Central

11:00am

Break
Thursday November 19, 2015 11:00am - 11:30am
Grand Ballroom Foyer

11:30am

Contemporary Issues in Immigration

While legislative and executive efforts towards comprehensive immigration reform have been stymied over the last few years, immigration detention has become the fasting growing incarceration system in the United States with nearly a half million people detained and incarcerated annually.  A new report by USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services and the Center for Migration Studies argues that the goals of immigration detention can be accomplished more humanely and at far less cost through a national infrastructure of community-based, supervised release programs.  This panel will explore the current state of efforts towards comprehensive immigration reform and immigration enforcement and detention in the United States.  It will highlight the Church’s position on the inherent issues, and consider varying government and policy perspectives on the issues.  Furthermore, the panel will address ways the Church and its agencies and partners might collaborate in advocacy and service efforts relative to providing alternatives to detention.   


Speakers
avatar for Don Kerwin

Don Kerwin

Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies
Donald M. Kerwin, Jr. has directed the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) since September 2011.  He previously worked for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) between 1992 and 2008, serving as its Executive Director (ED) for 15 years and its interim ED between September 2012 and March 2013.  Upon his arrival at CLINIC in 1992, Mr. Kerwin coordinated CLINIC’s political asylum project for Haitians... Read More →
avatar for Janet Murguia

Janet Murguia

CEO and President, National Council of La Raza
Janet Murguia is currently the CEO and President of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States.  NCLR partners with Affiliates across the country to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing, As its President, Ms. Murguia advocates for the Latino community and often... Read More →
avatar for Esther Olavarria

Esther Olavarria

Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, Esther Olavarria is a top legal adviser to Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.  Prior to assuming her role at DHS, Secretary Olavarria was the Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress.  For ten years prior to her tenure at the Center for American Progress, she served as Senator Kennedy's chief counsel on immigration.
avatar for Frank Sharry

Frank Sharry

Executive Director and Founder, America's Voice
Frank Sharry is Founder and Executive Director of America’s Voice. With the support of allies in the immigration reform community, he created the new organization in early 2008 to focus on communications and media as part of a renewed effort to win comprehensive immigration reform. Prior to heading America’s Voice, Mr. Sharry served as Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum for 17 years.   Before joining the... Read More →


Thursday November 19, 2015 11:30am - 1:00pm
Grand Ballroom North Central

1:00pm

Keynote Address and Plated Lunch
Speakers
avatar for Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas

Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Alejandro Mayorkas was sworn in as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security on December 23, 2013. Since 2009, following his nomination by President Obama and subsequent confirmation, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas served as the Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency charged with operating the largest immigration system in the world.  While at USCIS he has... Read More →


Thursday November 19, 2015 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Grand Ballroom North Central

2:30pm

Looking Ahead to the Future: Unaccompanied Children and Families

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

4:00pm

Wrap-Up Session
Moderator
avatar for William Canny

William Canny

Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
William (Bill) Canny is the current Executive Director of Migration and Refugee Services. He has worked for over 25 years for agencies in service to the Catholic Church  and to refugees and migrants through his previous positions at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the International Catholic Migration Commission, and the Papal Foundation.

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

4:00pm

4:30pm

Break
Thursday November 19, 2015 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Grand Ballroom Foyer

5:00pm

Golden Anniversary Mass
Worship with His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Honorary Chairman of the MRS 50th Anniversary Celebration and members of the Bishops Committee on Migration from across the country at the 50th Anniversary Mass. Liturgical music provided by the St. Camillus Parish renowned multicultural choir.

Speakers
avatar for His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl

His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl

Archbishop of Washington; Honorary Chairman of MRS' 50th Anniversary Celebration
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the Archbishop of Washington and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis.  Cardinal Wuerl is Honorary Chairman of MRS' 50th Anniversary Celebration.  He serves on numerous national and international bodies and is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate... Read More →


Thursday November 19, 2015 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Grand Ballroom South

6:00pm

Reception
Thursday November 19, 2015 6:00pm - 6:30pm
Grand Ballroom Foyer

6:30pm

Program Honoring MRS' 50 Years of Service

CELEBRATE MRS’ 50 years of service to immigrants, migrants, refugees and people on the move by joining us for an evening of international food, music and camaraderie.

Ambassador Thomas Shannon, Counselor for the U.S. Department of State, will recognize MRS for its partnership in resettling over one million refugees in the last 50 years.

MRS will also honor exemplarary individuals and partners who have furthered MRS' vision of creating a world where immigrants, migrants, refugees and people on the move are treated with dignity and respect. 

Special Honorees Include: 

Anh Joseph Cao, Esq. Founder and Partner, Cao Law Firm, former representative, Louisiana’s Second Congressional District; first Vietnamese-American member of Congress, former refugee from Vietnam

Catholic Charities Diocesan Partners 

Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, Director of the Humanitarian Crisis Relief Center, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley

Eric Wowoh, Founder and Executive Director of the Change Action Network 

Following an awards presentation, enjoy international food stations and music provided by Trio Caliente.


Speakers
avatar for William Canny

William Canny

Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
William (Bill) Canny is the current Executive Director of Migration and Refugee Services. He has worked for over 25 years for agencies in service to the Catholic Church  and to refugees and migrants through his previous positions at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the International Catholic Migration Commission, and the Papal Foundation.
avatar for Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo

Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo

Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Seattle
Bishop Elizondo is currently Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Migration and the Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle. He is the first Hispanic bishop in Seattle. He also serves as the Vicar General, the Vicar for Hispanic Ministries and the Vicar for Vocations of the Archdiocese.
avatar for Ambassador Thomas Shannon

Ambassador Thomas Shannon

Counselor of the Department, U.S. Department of State
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., was appointed Counselor of the Department by Secretary Kerry on December 24, 2013. Ambassador Shannon had served briefly as Senior Advisor to the Secretary following his return in September from Brazil, where he served as United States Ambassador for nearly four years. He is a Career Ambassador in the Senior Foreign Service of the United States. Ambassador Shannon is only the seventh Foreign Service Officer to hold the... Read More →
avatar for His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl

His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl

Archbishop of Washington; Honorary Chairman of MRS' 50th Anniversary Celebration
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the Archbishop of Washington and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis.  Cardinal Wuerl is Honorary Chairman of MRS' 50th Anniversary Celebration.  He serves on numerous national and international bodies and is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate... Read More →

Honorees
avatar for Anh Joseph Cao, Esq.

Anh Joseph Cao, Esq.

Founding Partner, Cao Law Firm
Mr. Cao is the Founding Partner of the Cao Law Firm.   He was the  U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district from 2009 to 2011 and the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress.  Cao was eight years old when he was resettled to the United States in 1975 with two other siblings and an uncle as refugees.  Cao studied to become a Roman Catholic priest. He withdrew from the seminary and earned a M.A... Read More →
avatar for Catholic Charities Diocesan Partners

Catholic Charities Diocesan Partners

Migration and Refugee Services would like to use the occasion of its Golden Anniversary to recognize the indispensable role of its partner Catholic Charities agencies across the country which have enabled the Catholic Church to resettle well over a million refugees in the last 50 years.
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 Eric Wowoh

Eric Wowoh

Founder and Executive Director, Change Action Network
Mr. Wowoh is a former Liberian refugee now living in Dallas, TX. He was resettled by MRS through Catholic Charities of Lafayette, LA in August 2006.  Since his arrival in the US, he has established an organization called the Change Agent Network (CAN).  CAN partners with impoverished African communities to fight poverty through education. They have successfully networked with individuals and institutions to build 14 schools across... Read More →

Thursday November 19, 2015 6:30pm - 7:15pm
Grand Ballroom North Central

7:15pm

International Food Stations and Music
Celebrate 50 MRS' years of service with international food and music.  Music provided by Trio Caliente.  

Artists
avatar for Trio Caliente

Trio Caliente

Since 2003, Trio Caliente's inimitable blend of Flamenco, Pop, and Brazilian Jazz has been enjoyed by political luminaries stateside and abroad; notable Fortune 500 companies; and venerated international organizations, festivals, and concert venues around the world.


Thursday November 19, 2015 7:15pm - 8:30pm
Grand Ballroom North Central