WASHINGTON, (March 7, 1997) -- Workshops on changes in immigration and refugee policy, legal assistance for immigrants, and providing for the pastoral needs of people on the move will be highlighted with addresses by the Assistant United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and officials from the United States government at the National Migration Conference March 13-16 in Bethesda, Maryland.
"The Migration of Peoples: Toward the Third Millennium" is the fourth biennial conference sponsored by the Department of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Catholic Conference. It will be held at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel, 5151 Pooks Hill Road, Bethesda, Maryland, beginning Thursday, March 13. Members of the media are invited to attend.
Mr. Sergio Vieria de Mello, Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees of the UNHCR will deliver an address, "Protecting Persecuted, Uprooted and Unwanted People: Who Will Respond?" on Friday, March 14, at 8:30 a.m. in the Congressional Ballroom. The opening address will be delivered by John's Hopkins University professor, Dr. Judith Mayotte, Thursday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. Her address is entitled "Toward the Third Millennium: Humanitarian Challenges in Crises and Prevention."
In addition to these two addresses, each of the three MRS divisions will sponsor their own plenary sessions at various times during the conference. Lavinia Limon, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, and Charles Sykes, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, will present remarks during a plenary session on refugee programs on Thursday, March 13, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Other plenary sessions will address the public policy and legal issues arising out of the new immigration laws enacted in 1996 and a third will explore the pastoral challenges facing those who work closely with migrants and refugees.
Throughout the course of the three-day conference various USCC and diocesan staff will conduct workshops on various aspects of their work -- public policy, legal, and pastoral.
Members of the media are welcome and encouraged to cover the conference. They are asked to present valid press credentials at the registration desk in the Congressional Foyer where they will receive conference registration materials and a name tag which grant them entry into the various sessions.