"Illegal Migration: Faith-Based Social Principles and Secular Policy" event in Washington, DC to feature experts discussing Fairfield University immigration reform initiatives



America's contentious immigration debate could become less polarized if people of all faiths tried to find common ground through the lens of their religious values and symbols.

Image: J BoryczkaThat perspective - the subject of initiatives led by Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life - will be explored at an event to be held Thursday, Nov. 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in Washington, D.C. entitled, "Illegal Migration: Faith-Based Social Principles and Secular Policy." The program will feature the Center's director and professor of sociology, Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., a renowned expert on immigration and refugees, as the keynote speaker. He will be joined in discussion by Jocelyn Boryczka, Ph.D., associate professor of Politics and director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Fairfield, and Sara Ibrahim, J.D., liaison and information associate of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The program for the evening will offer a dynamic dialogue spotlighting Fairfield initiatives that may help to reshape the debate on immigration. "The dialogue will focus on how faith-based principles for social life can provide criteria for Catholics and non-Catholics to evaluate current public policies and laws dealing with immigration," said Fr. Ryscavage, who was executive director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Office for Migration and Refugee Services and head of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA. In 2006, the Vatican invited Fr. Ryscavage to join the Holy See's delegation to the 61st United Nations General Assembly, where he participated as an advisor to the Secretary General's U.N. High Level Dialogue on Migration.

Image: Rick RyscavageThe event builds on a body of work related to different aspects of the immigration issue currently underway at Fairfield's Center for Faith and Public Life. One of these important projects is an initiative entitled "Strangers as Neighbors: Religious Language and the Response to Immigrants in the United States," a grant project co-directed by Dr. Boryczka. It has centered on a series of meetings and academic workshops hosted by the Center that brought together some 100 individuals - including religious leaders of different faiths, politicians from different parties, NGO and non-profit organization leaders, advocates, and scholars - to discuss immigration reform. The second initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, is entitled "Immigrant Student National Position Paper," and is studying the problems of undocumented students in Jesuit colleges and universities. It will involve a mixed-methods research study done in collaboration with Santa Clara University and Loyola University Chicago. Please visit http://www.fairfield.edu/cfpl/index.html for further details.

The discussion and a reception will be held at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP, located at 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, hosted by Harry Rissetto, '65, P'00, senior counsel at the firm; Eleanor Pelta, a partner in the firm's immigration practice, and the Fairfield Alumni Association. Please direct questions to the Office of Alumni Relations at (203) 254-4280.

For further information about programming in the Center for Faith and Public Life, please e-mail cfpl@fairfield.edu.

Images: An upcoming Fairfield University event in Washington, DC will feature Fr. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., director of the Center for Faith and Public Life and professor of sociology; and Jocelyn Boryczka, Ph.D., associate professor of Politics and director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 18, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 82