U.S. bishops to hold national migration conference

.- Prominent politicians, clergy, a genocide survivor, and an immigrant author will speak at the U.S. Bishops-sponsored National Migration Conference this July in Washington, D.C.

The National Migration Conference is sponsored by the Migration and Refugee Services department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.  “Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice” is the theme chosen for the conference, which is scheduled for July 28-31.

Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony will deliver the keynote address.  Scheduled speakers include U.S. Representative Chris Smith(R-NJ), Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza, and Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian immigrant and author.

In his keynote, Cardinal Mahony will assess the role and importance of church involvement in the national immigration debate.  He is expected to draw upon Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, “Saved by Hope,” and will examine the Church’s mission to “welcome the stranger.”

The second day of the conference will feature a panel of U.S. government officials from the U.S. State Department and the Department of Health. Lori Sciallaba, Associate Director for International Operations and Special Representative on Iraqi Refugees for the Department of Homeland Security, is also scheduled to participate on the panel.

Representative Chris Smith will discuss migration issues before Congress, including human trafficking, refugee protection, and immigration reform.  He will also suggest how the Catholic community can positively influence Congress.

Other speakers include an immigrant to the United States, the inspector general of a Mexico-focused human rights commission, and a professor of globalization and education who will speak on global migration and examine the factors that drive people to move within and across borders.

The National Migration Conference Website is located at http://nationalmigrationconference.org/

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