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First Miami Valley Forum on Immigration: Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrants


Dayton: This forum will focus on the achievements and obstacles that immigrants in the Miami Valley have had as they try to become incorporated into our communities, specifically by utilizing a variety of human services, from health care to public education.  The conference intends to bring together human service providers, health care professionals, leaders and members of local and regional organizations representing different immigrant populations, public officials, leaders in education, academics, and others, to explore the issues and discuss how improvements can be made.


Southwest and west-central Ohio, like much of the rest of the nation, has seen an increase in the number of foreign-born residents during the past decade, and Census projections are for this increase to continue.  Across the nation, community responses to increased immigration have varied.  Some have sought to restrict immigrant access to jobs, housing, and services, while others accepted the newcomers and tried to assist their adaptation to our society.  The kinds of responses communities undertake are likely to affect not only immigrants themselves but the present and future opportunities for their children, many of whom are U.S. citizens by virtue of being born in the United States.


Topics covered during the Forum will include:

Ø          Immigration categories and issues

Ø          Access to health care and education

Ø          Language issues and availability of interpreters for those not yet fluent in English

Ø          Psychological and mental health needs

Ø          Jobs and employment issues

Ø          Statuses and needs of refugees

Ø          Advocacy issues

Ø          Immigrant human rights


The Forum has been planned to complement the University of Dayton’s School of Law’s James J. Gilvary Symposium on Law, Religion, and Social Justice which will begin at the end of the Forum and continue the next day.  This year’s Gilvary Symposium “Justice for Strangers? Legal Assistance and the Foreign Born” will revolve around two themes: 1) the broad policy choices the United States faces in its re-evaluation of immigration policies, including the possibility of guest-worker programs; 2) tools and information legal practitioners need to best represent and counsel non-citizen clients.


Registration for one or both conferences is through the Gilvary Symposium website: http://law.udayton.edu/GilvarySymposium


An alternative way of registering is to go to: http://law.udayton.edu. Under “News and Events,” click on “2008 Gilvary Symposium explores the national immigration debate.” You can register for either or both conferences by clicking: Click here to Register On-line.


Registration Cost for the Gilvary Symposium: Free, but is $40 if meals are included.  There is also an option to purchase photocopies of handouts, etc. for the Gilvary Symposium that is available on their registration website.


Registration Cost for the Immigration Forum (will cover a catered lunch): $12.  This fee is waived for those also registering for the Gilvary Symposium with meals included ($40).


SUMMARY: SEMINAR, Wednesday, February 27, 2008. 9:00AM 3:15PM

At the University of Dayton Law School (Keller Hall), Mathias H. Heck Courtroom

Supported by: United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, University of Dayton’s Office of the President, National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), University of Dayton’s School of Law





Schedule for the First Miami Valley Forum on Immigration:

University of Dayton Law School (Keller Hall), Mathias H. Heck Courtroom

Wednesday, February 27, 2008. 9:00AM – 3:15PM


Continental Breakfast (bagels, coffee, juices, etc.). 8:30 – 9:00am. Atrium.


Introduction.  9:00 – 9:30am


Welcome and opening remarks. 

Marc Levy, President and CEO, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area.


Recent research on institutional accessibility for immigrants in the Miami Valley.

Dr. Theo Majka, Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton and Chair, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Caucus.



Immigrant Issues Panel. Morning Session #1.  9:30 – 10:45am


Immigration categories/statuses and issues. Marilyn Zayas-Davis, immigration lawyer.

Refugees. Pio Ngilik and Media Jyawook, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley.

Jobs & Employment. Maria Gosser, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services

Immigrant Human Rights. Professor Mark Ensalaco, Political Science Department and head of University of Dayton’s Human Rights Program.

Advocacy and Lobbying. Cori Thibodeau, Catholic Social Action.



Human Services Panel. Morning Session #2. 11:00am – 12:15pm


Health care. Dr. Richard Wyderski M.D., Associate Clinical Professor and Associate Residency Program Director, Wright State University, Department of Medicine and Chair of the Continuing Medical Education at Miami Valley Hospital.

Education. Maria Rivera, Patterson-Kennedy School.

Mental Health. Erendira Lopez-Garcia, Clinical Psychologist, WSU, Office of Disability Services

Language issues/Interpreters. Julia Arbini Carbonell, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Bureau of Civil Rights’ Cultural Diversity & LEP (Limited English Proficiency) section.


Lunch. 12:15-1:15pm (networking and a talk). Atrium of the Law School.


Keynote address: Immigration to America Today: Primal Fears and Hope Eternal.”

Charleston Cheng-Kung Wang, Cincinnati attorney specializing in immigration law. http://wanglaw.net/



Afternoon Session #1. 1:15-2:30pm. Workshops. Five or more concurrent sessions.


The sessions will be divided according to the issues and topics discussed in the morning sessions, e.g. health care, education, housing, refugees, advocacy/lobbying, etc.  Participants will talk about the practices of their organizations, will talk about their practices, explore commonalities, set goals, and plan for working together.  Each will have a facilitator and a reporter.



Afternoon Session #2. 2:30-3:15pm. Workshop report-backs and Forum wrap up.


Forum participants come back together and each workshop will report on their conversations and discuss on possible achievable goals for the year.





Schedule for the James J. Gilvary Symposium

“Justice for Strangers? Legal Assistance and the Foreign Born”

University of Dayton Law School (Keller Hall), Mathias H. Heck Courtroom


Wednesday: February 27, 2008:


3:30-5:00. Faith and the Immigration Debate

5:00-6:30. Dinner

6:30-7:15. Immigration Policy: A History and Overview of Current Issues

7:15-8:00. Guestworker Programs: The Moral and Legal Debate


Thursday, February 28:


9:00-10:00. Opening Session
10:15-11:00. Concurrent Sessions:
1) Employment Laws and Remedies for Foreign Born Workers
                        2) Hidden Trafficking
11:15-12:45. Concurrent Sessions:
                        1) Race, Civil Rights, & Immigration Law or Eligibility
                        2) Barriers to Public Benefits for Noncitizens
12:45-1:30. Lunch
1:30-2:15.  Building a Community that Embraces Diversity.
2:30-3:15.  Concurrent Sessions
                        1) Immigration Relief for Battered Immigrants
                        2) Defending Non-citizens in Criminal Trials






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