Democratizing Data on Non-Citizens

and the Possibility of Legalization/Regularization

without Federal Immigration Reform

Monday, September 29, 2014
9:15am – 3:00pm
Center for Migration Studies
307 East 60th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10022

On Monday, September 29, 2014 the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) hosted a conference, entitled, “Democratizing Data and Promoting Legalization/Regularization without Federal Immigration Reform.”  The conference featured the release of a variable developed by Robert Warren (Senior Visiting Fellow, Center for Migration Studies) that will allow researchers and others to tabulate data based on the legal status of non-citizens in the American Community Survey. Detailed estimates can be derived for states or for localities with population sizes of 100,000 or more. The conference also released the results from a survey of community-based legal service providers by Tom Wong (Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California San Diego) that attempts to estimate the percentage of unauthorized persons that may be eligible for immigration status/relief under current law. In addition, Roberto Suro (Professor, University of Southern California and Director of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute) discussed his research on state and local initiatives that have attempted to stabilize the lives and regularize the status of unauthorized persons and their families. Findings from each of the panels will be synthesized and published in forthcoming issues of the Journal on Migration and Human Security (


Speaker and Moderator Profiles

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

  • Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies

Panel I: Democratizing the Data:  A New Variable Showing Foreign-Born Census Data by Legal Status

  • Robert Warren, Senior Visiting Fellow, Center for Migration Studies (Presentation)
  • Guillermina Jasso, Silver Professor, Professor of Sociology, and Department Chair, New York University
  • Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Jose Pacas, Ph.D. Candidate, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
  • Vicky Virgin, Research Associate, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (Presentation)

Panel II: The Many Paths to Legal Status: Results and Implications from the PERSON Survey

  • Tom Wong, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego (Presentation)
  • Jeanne Atkinson, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
  • Maria Caba, Director of Operations and Outreach, ATLAS: DIY
  • Juan P. Osuna, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review

Panel III: Beyond CIR: Driver’s Licenses and Other Opportunities to Improve the Condition of Being Unauthorized

  • Roberto Suro, Professor of Journalism and Social Policy, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism; Director of Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, University of Southern California
  • Kevin Appleby, Director, Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, Migration and Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Kavita Pawria-Sanchez, Assistant Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Cristina Rodriguez, Professor of Law, Yale Law School



The conference is part of CMS’s yearlong celebration of its 50th Anniversary and is made possible through the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  For more information on CMS’s Golden Anniversary Gala, visit