CMS Symposium: Creating a Robust and Secure US Refugee Protection System

CMS-50thAnniv_RGB - close cropProtection of those fleeing or at risk of persecution, torture, or extreme danger represents a centerpiece of international and US immigration law. It also constitutes one of the most pressing and unattended challenges in the US immigration field. The US refugee protection system, broadly understood to encompass refugees, asylum-seekers and non-citizens in need of short-term protection, has ambitious goals and diverse responsibilities. It seeks to screen, admit and promote the integration of refugees; to adjudicate political asylum cases; and to offer temporary protection to persons from designated countries. It also seeks to detect and prevent the admission of persons that raise national security, public safety, and fraud concerns. To address the need for concentrated academic and policy attention to this pillar of the US immigration system and the international system of refugee protection, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is publishing a series of papers on the US refugee protection system that will offer recommendations to strengthen and reform the system. The series is made possible through the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Papers will be published on-line and in a special print edition of CMS’s public policy journal, the Journal on Migration and Human Security. As part of its year-long 50th anniversary celebration, CMS hosted an all-day symposium featuring panel discussions on these issues with series authors and other experts on challenges and recommendations related to territorial access, refugee resettlement, political asylum, temporary protection, the stateless, migrants in “crisis,” unaccompanied minors and other populations at particular risk. The discussion also attempted to put the US system in a broader international context.  The full agenda,

Center for Migration Studies Symposium: Creating a Robust and Secure US Refugee Protection System

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
10am to 5:30pm
Center for Migration Studies
307 East 60th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10022


Session One: Placing US Protection Issues in a Global Context and the Challenge of Migrants in Crisis 

Session Two: Access to Protection and Unaccompanied Minors

  • Megan McKenna, Communications and Advocacy Director, Kids in Need of Defense (Moderator)
  • Margaret Stock, Attorney, Cascadia Cross Border Law Group LLC (Territorial Access)
  • Anna Cabot, Clinical Fellow, Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, University of Connecticut (Protection on the US-Mexico Border)
  • Anna Gallagher, Attorney, Maggio + Kattar (Unaccompanied Minors)

Session Three: Protection of Refugees and Persons in Need of Temporary Protection

  • Linda Hartke, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Moderator)
  • Anastasia Brown, Director of Resettlement Services, Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (MRS/USCCB) (The US Refugee Resettlement System)
  • Todd Scribner, Education Outreach Coordinator, MRS/USCCB (The US Refugee Resettlement System)
  • Claire Bergeron, Associate Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute (Temporary Protected Status)
  • Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies (Temporary Protection as Part of a Seamless Web of Protection)

Session Four: Political Asylum and Permanent Protection in the United States

Session Five: Legislative and Policy Solutions

  • Eleanor Acer, Director of Refugee Protection, Human Rights First (Moderator)
  • Melanie Nezer, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, HIAS
  • Tara Magner, Speaking in her personal capacity

JMHS-logo-web-smallThe series, with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will be published both on-line and in a forthcoming hard copy edition of CMS’s public policy journal, the Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS).  The first articles are now available online at