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Center for Migration Studies
The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) is an educational institute/think tank devoted to the study of US and international migration
The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) is an educational institute/think tank devoted to the study of US and international migration

Center for Migration Studies's posts

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In November 2014, the Obama Administration announced the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The DAPA and expanded DACA programs, if implemented, would provide work authorization and temporary relief from deportation to roughly four million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Texas and 25 other states, however, are challenging the programs, and the case, United States v. Texas, has made its way to the US Supreme Court.
In advance of the April 18th oral arguments before the Court, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) is hosting a dialogue on the case’s legal and policy implications. Join CMS on April 13th from 9:00am to 12:30pm.

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On October 28th, leading migration scholars and experts will gather for the Center for Migration Studies’ annual symposium to discuss emerging and cutting-edge migration issues. This year’s meeting will focus on both scholarship and advocacy around migration and development, as well as policy developments on national and international refugee protection systems.

To view the agenda, visit 

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Donald Kerwin
Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies

Charles Kamasaki
Senior Cabinet Advisor, National Council of La Raza

Susan Timmons
Associate Director, Practice & Professionalism, American Immigration Lawyers Association

Courtney Tudi
Managing Attorney, Capacity Building, World Relief

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of unprecedented Executive actions to reform the US immigration system, including the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the establishment of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.  An estimated 5.4 million persons met the eligibility criteria for temporary status and employment authorization under the DAPA program (3.9 million) and the original and expanded DACA programs (1.5 million). 

The announcement of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs mobilized a large, nationally coordinated initiative, under the rubric of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI), to plan for these programs and (ultimately) for a broader legalization program.  The CIRI initiative has concentrated on expanding the capacity of community-based immigrant service agencies, maximizing the use to technology to educate the public and to provide the tools to allow unauthorized immigrants to assess their eligibility for relief, fighting the exploitation of immigrants by unscrupulous notarios, and strengthening partnerships in communities nationwide.

In an important new report published in the Journal on Migration and Human Security, CIRI’s Human Resources Working Group details the human and financial resources that will be needed to build community capacity in order to coordinate the successful implementation of a large-scale legalization program.  Drawing on lessons from the Immigrant Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), DACA, and other initiatives, the paper provides a roadmap for implementation of administrative and legislative immigration reform. 

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) invites you to join lead authors of this report — Charles Kamasaki (National Council of La Raza), Susan Timmons (American Immigration Lawyers Association), and Courtney Tudy (World Relief) – to discuss their key finding related to the capacity and funding needs of community-based immigrant-service agencies.  They will also discuss next steps for the CIRI network, including the substantial populations of unauthorized immigrants that the CIRI network plans to serve, notwithstanding delays in implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA and the absence of Congressional action on immigration. 

To attend this event in New York, register at

To download the report, “Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief for 2014 and Beyond: A Report on Behalf of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI), Human Resources Working Group,” visit

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While the dramatic expansion of privately-run, family detention facilities has been the focus of the recent debate on the US immigrant detention system, there has been a far longer debate on the system’s overall viability. Most recently, a report by the Center for Migration Studies and Migration and Refugee Services of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops argued that the current system should be dismantled and entirely re-conceived.

This panel of diverse experts will discuss the future of the US immigrant detention system, ideas for and barriers to reform, the system’s growing privatization, the experience of family detention in Texas, and cross-cutting issues and lessons from the criminal justice and national security field.

Donald Kerwin
Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies

Susan L. Burke
Attorney at Law, Burke PLLC

Mark Dow
Author, American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

Judith Green
Justice Policy Analyst and Director, Justice Strategies

Michelle Mendez
Training and Legal Support Staff Attorney,
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

To register to attend in person, visit

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015
1:30pm to 3:00pm EDT
Center for Migration Studies
307 East 60th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10022
This event is free and open to the public

Elena Segura
Director, Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education
Archdiocese of Chicago
Rev. Eric Cruz
Regional Coordinator
Catholic Charities of the Bronx

Lorelei Salas
Director of Legal Services
Catholic Migration Services

Donald Kerwin
Executive Director
Center for Migration Studies
The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is hosting a gathering on organizing parish communities with large immigrant populations for leadership, service and justice. The event will feature Elena Segura, who directs the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education, and runs an innovative program called Pastoral Migratoria (PM). PM develops immigrant leaders, who identify their needs and priorities, then seek solutions to the community’s pressing concerns through unique initiatives and by organizing the immigrant community for service and justice.
Ms. Segura characterizes Pastoral Migratoria as an “immigrant-to-immigrant ministry…born from the desire of immigrants to assist one another in their plight, to live their baptismal call and be agents of a broader evangelization to newcomers and natives.” To Segura, the program seeks to live out Catholic teaching on “human dignity, basic rights, family unity, and solidarity.” The ministry was established in 2008 through a broad consultative process with Catholic universities, charities, schools, pastors, and others.
To date, the program has trained over 200 lay leaders, been implemented in 40 Hispanic and 10 Polish parishes, and is actively supported by over 100 non-immigrant parishes. In the past nine years Pastoral Migratoria leaders has achieved many successes, including leading parish programs on domestic violence, labor rights, and foreclosure. Immigrant leaders work closely with consulate services, combat notary fraud, and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. PM leaders have also accompanied and connected over 500 separated families in crisis, due to deportations, to needed services, utilizing the resources of Catholic Charities, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) and other Church-sponsored agencies. Priests, religious and PM leaders hold weekly vigils at Chicago area detention facilities to support those being deported and their families. The program offers an important model on how to make Catholic institutions responsive and accountable to immigrant communities.
Pastoral Migratoria’s guide book, entitled: Manual De Pastoral Migratoria: Escuchar, Aprender, Proclamar is available in Spanish at
Ms. Segura will provide a short presentation, followed by responses from two panelists including Rev. Eric Cruz, Regional Coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Bronx.  CMS’s Executive Director Donald Kerwin will moderate the program.
Following the event, CMS will host a short meeting with Ms. Segura for those who have particular questions on her work.
To register, visit or send your name, affiliation, and email to

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Brett C. Hoover
Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Author, The Shared Parish: Latinos, Anglos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism

Maria del Mar Muñoz-Visoso
Executive Director, Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Fr. Walter Tonelotto
Pastor, Our Lady of Pompeii Church, New York City

Moderated by 
Donald Kerwin
Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies

As faith communities in the United States grow more diverse due, in large part, to immigration, increasing numbers of Catholic parishes are being “shared” by distinct cultural groups who retain their own ministries and styles of worship. Today, it is estimated that 6,300 parishes in the United States serve ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse communities. Shared parishes are one of the few institutions in American society in which cultural groups maintain their own languages and customs, while still engaging in regular intercultural negotiations.  They are also increasingly changing the face of the Catholic Church in the United States.

In his book, The Shared Parish: Latinos, Anglos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism (New York University Press 2014), Brett C. Hoover, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, explores the shared parish through an in-depth ethnographic study of a Roman Catholic parish in a small Midwestern city that has been demographically transformed by Mexican immigration in recent decades. Through his depiction of shared parish life, Hoover outlines new ways of imagining the U.S. Catholic parish.  He argues that the parish must be conceived as a congregation and part of a centralized system, and as one piece in a complex social ecology. The Shared Parish also posits that the search for identity and adequate intercultural practice in such parishes might call for new approaches to cultural diversity in U.S. society.

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) will host a dialogue with Professor Hoover to discuss the impact of immigration on U.S. Catholic institutions and the effect of shared parish communities on immigrant integration, multiculturalism, and the future of the Catholic faith.  Professor Hoover’s presentation will be followed by short responses by Maria del Mar Muñoz-Visoso, Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church, and Fr. Walter Tonelotto, Pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii Church in New York City.  The dialogue will be moderated by Donald Kerwin, CMS Executive Director.

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CMS Celebrates Golden Anniversary!
CMS Golden Anniversary Gala
308 Photos - View album

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January 2012 - Birth Registration in Mexico
21 Photos - View album

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The use of detention as a tool of immigration control has become a global phenomenon.  On Monday, July 21, 2014, the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) will host a dialogue examining the global expansion of immigration-related detention practices. Featured panelist Michael Flynn, Founder and Project Manager of the Global Detention Project, will discuss the global spread of detention and the externalization of immigration enforcement policies over the last 30 years. Dora Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection with the State of Connecticut, will respond to Mr. Flynn’s presentation.  Ms. Schriro was Special Advisor to former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Detention and Removal, and was the founding Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning for DHS.  She will discuss US detention policies and practices in more depth.  Donald Kerwin, CMS’s Executive Director, will moderate the session.

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