CMS Appoints C. Mario Russell As Its Next Executive Director
April 3, 2023
On April 3, 2023, the Center for Migration Studies of New York’s (CMS) Board of Trustees and Corporate Board announced the appointment of C. Mario Russell as the next executive director of the organization. Mr. Russell will begin his tenure with CMS on June 12, 2023.
Mr. Russell has worked for over 20 years for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, having served during the past eight years as Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Division. As the head of the division, Mr. Russell oversaw the provision of legal, resettlement, and case management services to immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, and day laborers, among other vulnerable populations. He also engaged with all levels of federal and local government on matters of migration policy and practice. Prior to that, Mr. Russell conducted litigation in the immigration and federal district and appeals courts and managed the asylum defense clinic at St. John’s Law School, where he also taught seminars on immigration law.
Mr. Russell also previously worked as Regional Director for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), conducting national trainings for practitioners. He has consulted with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on asylum protection in Eastern Europe and has worked to advocate on behalf of newcomers as a board member of the New York Immigration Coalition and in other capacities. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and Haverford College and served as a public interest fellow at Harvard Law School. Mr. Russell also speaks Italian fluently.
“We are very pleased to welcome Mario Russell as our next executive director,” said Karen Grisez, chair of the Board of Trustees. “His combination of skills and experience, plus his intimate knowledge of the challenges faced by immigrants and the Catholic networks serving them, will serve CMS well in the days ahead.”
Mr. Russell added: “I am very excited to join the Center for Migration Studies of New York and look forward to working with the Board, the staff, and the founders of CMS, the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, Scalabrinians, in moving the organization forward. The policy and education objectives of CMS, as part of the Scalabrini International Migration Network, are particularly important today as migration realities have become global in scope and concern.”