WASHINGTON (June 11, 2003) -— Hundreds of immigration advocates will be on hand July 6-10 in Washington for the National Migration Conference 2003 to learn the latest on the U.S. response to the world's 15 million refugees, to plan strategies for their advocacy efforts, to hear internationally respected immigration and refugee experts, and to see the moving presentation Children of War.
In addition to hearing from speakers like 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Harry Wu and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, participants will be offered a series of workshops in a number of topical tracks like human trafficking, U.S-Mexico border issues, and providing care for children in detention.
A special highlight of the National Migration Conference 2003 will be a performance of Children of War, a documentary theater production in which several refugee teenagers from a number of countries share their personal experiences. It is directed by New York playwright and director Ping Chong, and is produced by the Center for Multicultural Human Services of Falls Church, Virginia. The Washington Post Magazine described the production as "arresting."
"It is estimated that there are 15 million refugees in the world today," said Mark Franken, Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services, one of the principle sponsors of NMC. "At the same time, the federal government has severely restricted the resettlement of refugees in this country. Similarly, women and children are trafficked into the United States every year as workers in the sex industry, sweatshops and domestic labor markets. We must take action on their behalf. The National Migration Conference will bring together some of the leading advocates for a safe, legal, and generous immigration system to share their insights."
Other speakers include Father Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities USA; Father Michael Blum of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples; Eduardo Aguirre, director designate of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; John Miller, Director of the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; and Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father – A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers; among others.
National Migration Conference 2003 will convene at the historic Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. It is presented by the USCCB/MRS and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Other partners include: the USCCB Secretariat for the Church in Latin America, the USCCB Secretariat for the Church in Latin America, Catholic Charities USA, the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking, and the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry.
For more information or to register online, visit: www.nmc2003.org