Navigating New York City’s ‘Migrant Crisis’

Since Spring 2022, New York City has seen the arrival of 100,000 asylum seekers. This sudden and significant influx has tested city resources, bringing homeless shelters to capacity and raising concerns about the city’s ability to provide and welcome its most recent arrivals. The migrant crisis has also reignited essential questions that the city has been grappling with related to shelter, mental health, and the support of vulnerable migrant communities.

Join us for a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities that come with the city’s latest migrant wave.

The panel will discuss the recent migrant crisis and response and the city’s role as a migrant sanctuary bringing perspectives from activists, experts, and government officials actively involved in the city’s response.

When: September 7, 2023

Adam Brown is Associate Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research and Vice Provost for Research at The New School. He has extensive experience developing programs to promote mental health awareness, providing training, technical guidance, and support in the creation, implementation, and evaluation of scalable, evidence-based, culturally responsive mental health strategies that can be delivered in a wide range of contexts by non-specialists. Head of the Trauma and Global Mental Health Lab and the Global Mental Health graduate minor, Dr. Brown focuses his research on the adaptation of mental health and psychosocial interventions that can be delivered globally by non-mental health professionals and works closely with cross-sector partners to carry out this work. Additionally, he has extensive experience in the study of traumatic stress and the identification of factors that contribute to mental health risks and resilience.

Dr. Brown is a co-founder and member of the Human Rights Resilience Project, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners carrying out research and creating tools to improve resilience and well-being in the human rights community. He has served as a consultant for organizations such as the United Nations, UNICEF, and Amnesty International. He is the recipient of grants from the National Institute of Health, USAID, Fulbright, and numerous private foundations. His work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and as book chapters.

Cynthia Marlene Galaz is the New York Immigration Coalition’s Director of Immigrant Rights Policy. In her role she drives policies to end state support for detention, deportation and mass incarceration. Marlene also leads the organization’s policy efforts at municipal, state, and federal levels to counter anti-immigrant policies, and strengthen immigrants’ fundamental civil rights.

Prior to joining NYIC, Marlene was Freedom for Immigrants’ Senior Policy Associate. She led the organization’s legislative work to end detention in New York and other states as part of a regional strategy to win abolition nationally. She also played a key role in developing federal investment policies for community-based pilots that support immigrants rather than imprisoning them. In this role she worked with directly impacted migrants, local and national partners as well as federal government officials. She currently serves on the board of directors of IDEPSCA, a community-based group that organizes day laborers and household workers in Los Angeles. Through her work, Marlene seeks to uplift the power-building and organizing of directly impacted communities.

Marlene holds an MSc in Social Policy from the University of Oxford and a BA in Global Studies with a minor in Public Affairs from UCLA.

Rob Robinson is a formerly homeless community organizer and activist based in New York City. His work focuses on changing people’s fundamental relationship to land and housing. He works with social movements around the world including the Movement of People Affected by Dams in Brazil (MAB), the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil (MST), Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa (the Shackdwellers movement) and the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages in Spain (the PAH). Rob is the USA-Canada Coordinator of International Alliance of Inhabitants, an alliance of 12,000 members worldwide which supports a Zero Evictions Platform. As a longtime member of the US Human Rights Network, his work is framed in international human rights law. In the US he works with communities on several social issues including, poverty and debt, police violence against the poor, gentrification and access to broadband. He is a regular guest lecturer at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He has lectured at several US law school human rights institutes, including University of Miami, Northeastern University Massachusetts, University of California at Berkeley and Harvard. Rob is currently an adjunct professor of Urbanism in the Design and Urban Ecology program at Parsons New School University.

Tom Tortorici is Executive Director, Legal & Support Initiatives in New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. He has over 10 years of diverse experience supporting the wellbeing and integration of asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees in the U.S. and abroad through direct service, program design & implementation, and policy advocacy. As Executive Director of Legal & Support Initiatives at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Tom has led the design and implementation of innovative programs including the Ukrainian Response Initiative, Haitian Response Initiative, Asylum Seeker Legal Assistance Network, and Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center. He engages with city leadership and other stakeholder groups on immigration policy matters, and directs a broad portfolio of immigrant-serving programs in partnership with local non-profits, community-based organizations, and public institutions. Previously, Tom served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in northern Peru, and held a series of operations and strategy roles advancing the effectiveness of people, projects, and organizations across multiple sectors.

Tom holds a BA from New York University, an MA from Columbia University Teacher’s College, and a JD from the City University of New York School of Law. He is a trained mediator and fluent in Spanish.

Achilles Kallergis is an Assistant Professor at the New School for Social Research and the Director of the Cities and Migration Project at the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. His research focuses on urbanization, migration, and mobility in rapidly growing cities. Specifically, it explores environmental mobility and how locally-generated data can provide new evidence on mobility patterns and contribute to improving living conditions in low-income destination areas through better provision of housing and services. In his research, he has collaborated with transnational community networks Slum/Shack Dwellers International and the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights. At Zolberg, he directs the research program on cities and migration and coordinates the Research Platform on Cities and Human Mobility. Previously he was a Research Scholar at the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University. He has taught at New York University at the New School. His work has been published in academic journals and edited books.


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