Mobilizing Coherent Community Responses to Changing Immigration Policies | Legalizing the Undocumented Without Congress, The Executive, or Courts

Mobilizing Coherent Community Responses to Changing Immigration Policies | Legalizing the Undocumented Without Congress, The Executive, or Courts

From June 7-9, 2017, scholars, researchers, community organizers, service providers, elected officials, leaders of faith communities, immigrant advocates, and others, joined together for a 3-day conference on how diverse communities are working together to protect, empower and meet the needs of immigrants and refugees in an era of heightened uncertainty. The conference examined “whole of community” responses to protecting and empowering immigrants and offered models and best practices for moving forward amidst numerous challenges.

The event was hosted by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance of Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, and the South Texas College of Law Houston.

A growing body of evidence shows that a substantial percentage of the US unauthorized population may be eligible for an immigration benefit or relief, but does not know it or cannot afford to pursue it. In addition, more than eight million lawful permanent residents are potentially eligible to naturalize, which (in many cases) will expedite legal status for their family members. This panel discussed how communities can and should pursue a large-scale “legalization” program now, without Congress, the Executive or the courts as a centerpiece of their response to new immigration challenges.

Moderator: Jeanne Atkinson, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Matthew Burnett, Director, Immigration Advocates Network

Astrid Dominguez, Policy Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union Texas

Sara Feldman, Ready California Project Director, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Brian Schaeffer, Senior Program Director, YMCA International Services