Religion and U.S. Immigration Reform

Immigration reform remains one of the most contested issues in American politics and will likely play an important role in the 2012 presidential campaign. Religious communities, among the most forceful advocates of immigration reform in the last electoral cycle, are reassessing lessons learned and strategies going forward. This symposium brought together representatives of faith communities and researchers to address both their lobbying efforts and strategies used to facilitate immigrant integration into American society. It was sponsored by Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration, the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs at Georgetown University, and was made possible through the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation and the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs.
2:30 pm-4:00 pm
First panel: Religious Advocacy and Immigration Policy

Chair: Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Chair in International Migration, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University

Daniel Cox, Research Director, Public Religion Research Institute

Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Kevin Appleby, Director of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Melanie Nezer, Senior Director, US Programs and Advocacy, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Key questions:
1. How have religious communities engaged the immigration reform policy debate?
2. How would you gauge the success or failure of immigration reform advocacy on the part of religious communities? What best explains different outcomes?
3. How do you see the future of such policy advocacy? What should religious communities do differently going forward?

Coffee Break

Second Panel: Faith Communities and Immigrant Integration

Chair: Katherine Marshall, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University

Alex Stepick, Director of the Immigration and Ethnicity Institute and Professor of Anthropology & Sociology at Florida International University in Miami

Raleigh Bailey, Senior Research Scientist in the School of Human Environmental Sciences at UNCG

Fariyal Ross-Sheriff, School of Social Work, Howard University

Elzbieta M. Gozdziak, Research Director and International Migration Editor, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University

Key questions:
1. How are faith communities assisting with the social, cultural, and economic integration of immigrants in US society?
2. What role are faith-based educational institutions playing in furthering this immigration?
3. Where are we seeing positive examples of cooperation between local governments and religious organizations in furthering immigration?

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