Reaffirming Protection: Strengthening Asylum in the United States

October 20, 2011 — This conference commemorates the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which defines who is a refugee, the rights of asylum seekers and the legal obligations of states that grant asylum.

Event Note

The participants will discuss keyissues proposed by UNHCR and U.S. civil society groups to address gaps in refugee protection, as well as next steps to enhance the U.S. domestic protection system.

This event is sponsored by the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Human Rights First.

Media interested in attending should e-mail mediarelations@law.georgetown.edu.

Time and Location

Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Gewirz Student Center, 12th Floor, 120 F Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001

Schedule of Events

9:00 - 9:15 a.m. - Welcome

  • William M. Treanor, Dean, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Eleanor Acer, Director, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First

9:15 – 9:25 a.m. - Introductory Remarks

  • Vincent Cochetel, Regional Representative, UNHCR Regional Office for the United States and the Caribbean

9:25 - 9:35 a.m. - Looking at the United States Asylum System: An Outsider's View

  • Sister Josephe Marie Flynn, Author, Rescuing Regina: The Battle to Save a Friend from Deportation and Death

9:35 – 11:15 a.m. - Panel 1: "Detention of Asylum Seekers in the US: Improving Conditions, Expanding Alternatives and Enhancing Due Process"

  • Donald Kerwin, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Center for Migration Studies (Moderator)
  • Elizabeth K. Cassidy, Deputy Director for Policy and Research, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Ruthie Epstein, Researcher & Advocate, Refugee Protection Program, Human Rights First
  • Kevin Landy, Assistant Director, Office of Detention Policy and Planning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Julie Myers Wood, President, ICS Consulting LLC; Representative from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; former Assistant Secretary, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement
  • Leslie Velez, Director, Access to Justice, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. - Panel 2: "Bars to Protection"

  • Melanie Nezer, Senior Director for U.S. Policy & Advocacy, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (Moderator)
  • Molly Groom, Chief, Refugee & Asylum Law Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Anwen Hughes, Senior Counsel and Deputy Director, Refugee Protection Program, Human Rights First
  • Kelly Ryan, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Immigration & Border Security, Department of Homeland Security
  • Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Deputy Director, Georgetown University Institute for the Study of International Migration; Visiting Professor and Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Larry Yungk, Senior Resettlement Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

1:00 – 2:45 p.m. Luncheon Program

  • William M. Treanor, Dean, Georgetown University Law Center (Introduction)
  • António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Keynote Address)
  • Eleanor Acer, Director, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First (Moderator)

2:45– 4:15 p.m. Panel 3: "Challenges in Asylum Adjudications"

  • Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow, Migration Policy Institute (Moderator)
  • Pamela Goldberg, Acting Senior Protection Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Karen Grisez, Special Counsel, Public Service Counsel, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Chair, American Bar Association Commission on Immigration
  • Juan Osuna, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Ron Rosenberg, Director, Arlington Asylum Office, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

4:15– 4:40 p.m. Closing Remarks

  • Dan Kosten, Vice President, U.S. Programs & World Relief Chair, Refugee Council USA (Introduction)
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Speaker)

4:40 – 5:00 p.m. Wrap Up

  • Eleanor Acer, Director, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First
  • Buti Kale, Deputy Regional Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Deputy Director, Georgetown University Institute for the Study of International Migration; Visiting Professor and Co-Director, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center