Tue, May 14, 2024
8 am - 3 pm
(GMT-05:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall

Immigration in the United States has always been a heavily politicized topic, especially around election cycles. Although public opinion toward immigrants has remained favorable during the last decade, immigration and the “crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border have been at the center of the public debate recently. 

Ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, this conference will bring together leading experts to examine the current political landscape around immigration. They will explore how shifting policies have reshaped migration to the U.S.-Mexico border and discuss prospects for immigration reform. 

This event is part of the Baker Insitute Migration Initiative — a collaboration between the Center for Health and BiosciencesCenter for the U.S. and Mexico, and Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East — that focuses on the economic, legal, health, and social and environmental aspects of migration. 

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This event is free, but registration is required. Click below to attend in person or to receive the link to the livestream. 


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Featured Speakers

Jeremy Robbins, J.D., is the executive director of the American Immigration Council. Previously, Robbins spent over a decade building New American Economy — a think tank and advocacy organization founded by Michael Bloomberg to make the economic case for smarter immigration policies. He has also served as a policy advisor and special counsel with the New York City mayor’s office, a judicial law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals, a Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow working on prisoners' rights issues in Argentina, and a litigation associate at WilmerHale in Boston. Robbins received a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Brown University. 

The Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, D.D., is the bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas. Originally from Wisconsin, Seitz was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Dallas in 1980. He was pastor of parishes in Garland, Waxahachie, and Dallas, Texas. Bishop Seitz taught liturgy and sacramental theology at the University of Dallas and served as vice director and director of the Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dallas by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. In 2013, Bishop Francis appointed Seitz as the sixth bishop of El Paso, to serve the borderlands community along with El Paso’s sister city, Ciudad Juárez. Bishop Seitz has worked with some of the most vulnerable communities, including migrant families and refugees who have made the region their home or who choose the community of El Paso-Ciudad Juárez as their point of passage. Bishop Seitz believes that migrants add inestimable value to the communities where they choose to live and that parishes and community members should welcome them with compassion, love, and solidarity.


8:00 am

Breakfast and Registration

8:30 am

Welcome Remarks

Tony Payan, Ph.D.
Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies, Director of the Center for the U.S. and Mexico, Baker Institute for Public Policy

8:45 am

Keynote Presentation: The Role of Immigration in the 2024 Elections 

Jeremy Robbins, J.D. 
Executive Director, American Immigration Council 

9:15 am

Panel I — Addressing the Border ‘Crisis’ 

Questions over security versus rights for asylum seekers can potentially split the Democratic Party in the upcoming election — especially as Republican members of Congress and congressional candidates continue to push for greater restrictions. This panel features legal and immigration experts who will explain how the political landscape of border security and migration has impacted policies toward migrants, and what changes we can expect with the outcome of the 2024 election. 

Moderated by: Kelsey Norman, Ph.D., Fellow for the Middle East, Director of the Women's Rights, Human Rights, and Refugees Program, Baker Institute for Public Policy

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick
Policy Director, American Immigration Council

Yael Schacher
Director for the Americas and Europe, Refugees International

Rep. Armando Walle
Texas State Representative, 140th District 

David Donatti, J.D.
Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU of Texas

10:45 am


11:00 am

Panel II — The Possibilities of Immigration Reform After 2024

For over thirty years, Congress has been unable to enact major changes
to the American immigration system. Yet, most Americans understand the need and even wish for changes in the immigration system — especially as the economy faces deep challenges caused by demographic changes. This panel will discuss the possibility of reforming the immigration system in the coming years to alleviate the irregular flow of immigration and satisfy the demand for labor. 

Moderated by: Mark P. Jones, Ph.D., Fellow in Political Science, Baker Institute for Public Policy; Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and Professor, Department of Political Science, Rice University

Elizabeth M. Mendoza, P.C.
Immigration Lawyer

Glenn Hamer
President and CEO, Texas Association of Business

12:30 pm


1:00 pm

Closing Keynote

The Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, D.D.
Sixth Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso

1:45 pm

Private Workshop Exercise 

All speakers and audience members are invited to participate in a workshop exercise after the public event. Participants will be divided into different groups and answer the following questions: What are the barriers to countering misinformation and disinformation around migration issues? What can we do to overcome those barriers?

Moderated by:  Luz Garcini, Ph.D., MPH, Rice Faculty Scholar, Baker Institute for Public Policy; Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, Rice University

3:00 pm 



Tue, May 14, 2024
8 am - 3 pm
(GMT-05:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall