Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Impact: Borders
7:00-9:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Soho House NYC
29-35 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Description: What makes a sensible immigration policy? 26% of the U.S. Population is either a first or second generation immigrant. In New York it is estimated that 30% of residents are born outside of the United States. Join us at the Soho House as we discuss the future of the immigration system here in the U.S.


Nisha Agarwal
NYC Commissioner Immigrant Affairs

Steve Camarota
Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies

Careen Shannon
Partner, Fragomen Worldwide

Michelle Brane
Women’s Refugee Commission

Wendy Young
President KIND (Kids in Need of Defense)

Tamar Jacoby
President of ImmigrationWorks USA

Roy Beck
Executive Director of NumbersUSA

Return to TOP


Focusing on Protection: Previewing Upcoming High-Level Fora on Migration

8:30 a.m. ET, Wednesday, January 27, 2016
MPI Webinar

Description: With global displacement at record levels, it is clear that humanitarian protection will continue to be a key focus for policymakers and the international community throughout 2016. This year's calendar is dotted with a series of high-profile international events related to migration and refugee protection—including conferences in London (February 4) and Geneva (March 30) addressing the fallout of the Syrian civil war, and a pair of summits on refugees and migrants hosted by the United Nations and the United States in September. These high-level meetings could prove crucial in paving the way for meaningful solutions for the world’s forcibly displaced populations.

Join Migration Policy Institute (MPI) experts along with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on International Migration, Peter Sutherland, for a webinar focusing on what can be expected to be discussed at this year’s high-level migration summits, and what tangible results might occur. In addition to Mr. Sutherland, the webinar will feature MPI Senior Fellow T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, and MPI Senior Fellow and Co-Founder Kathleen Newland.

Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Senior Fellow, MPI, and former Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow and Co-Founder, MPI

Return to TOP


Certificate in International Migration Studies

XCPD-706 - Migration and Development

Course Description: This course focuses on the two sides of the migration and development nexus: the impact of development (or the lack thereof) on the movements of people and the impact of migration on the development of mid and low income countries. The course will examine trends in migration from and within developing countries, including economic, social, demographic, political, environmental and other factors that influence population movements. It also examines the relationship between international migration and such issues as economic growth and competitiveness, human development, poverty alleviation, trade, social support systems, health and education. The role of remittances and Diaspora contributions to development are further areas of interest. The course focuses also on legal frameworks and institutional arrangements that will enhance international cooperation to address the nexus between migration and development. A key issue is the application of international human and labor rights law on the developmental aspects of migration.

Course Objectives:

At the completion of the course, a successful student will be able to:

* Discuss the impact of development on the movements of people and the impact of migration on the development of mid and low income countries.

* Recognize trends in migration from and within developing countries.

* Describe the relationship between international migration and economic growth and competitiveness, human development, poverty alleviation, trade, social support systems, health and education.

* Discuss the application of international human and labor rights law on the developmental aspects of migration.

640 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

Class Meets: Wednesday-Friday, January 27-29, 2016, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Tuition: $895.00, 24 Contact hourss

Registration: https://portal.scs.georgetown.edu/coursebasket/publicCourseBasket.do?method=addToCart

Return to TOP


Adequacy of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Efforts to Protect Unaccompanied Alien Children From Human Trafficking

10:00 p.m., Thursday, January 28, 2016
Senate Committee on Homeland Security
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Agenda: The Subcommittee will conduct a hearing about deficiencies in the procedures used by the Department of Health and Human Services to safely place unaccompanied alien children with sponsors in the United States.

Return to TOP


The Latino Vote: Myth vs. Reality

9:00 a.m., Friday, January 29, 2016
Columbia Journalism School
2950 Broadway (116th & Broadway)
New York City, NY 10027

Overview: Journalists, students, professors and other professionals are invited to join a one-day conference, co-hosted by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Telemundo Network, intended to provide tools to dispel myths about the nation's Latino voters and to facilitate the work of journalists during this election year. Panelists and political experts will discuss the diverse demographics of the Latino communities, how journalists can research the voting and legislative records of candidates and fact-check their positions, as well as provide ways to understand and use election poll results. Major party experts will comment about the strategies they expect the Democratic and Republican parties will use in the coming elections. All students are welcomed.


9:00 a.m.
Opening remarks by Telemundo News Executive Vice President Luis Carlos Vélez.

9:45 a.m.
What do Latinos want?

What do Latinos really care about? Hint: It’s not just immigration. How different are the issues of concern between each of the Latino communities – Puerto Ricans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Dominican-Americans, Salvadoran-Americans, etc? How can journalists learn about these needs? Discussion will include Q&A with participants.


* Roberto Suro, Professor, USC Annenberg School of Journalism and & Director, Tomas Rivera Policy Institute
* Elizabeth Llorente, Political and Immigration Editor, Fox News Latino
* Suzanne Gamboa, Senior Writer, NBCNews.com

María Celeste Arrarás, Telemundo National News Anchor

11:10 a.m.
On the record: What do candidates really believe and how do we know?

Thomas Edsall, Columbia Journalism School professor and New York Times Online Op- Ed Columnist, provides reporters an assortment of tools to check the voting/legislative record of candidates. How do you know when they are telling the truth? Discussion will include Q&A with participants.

1:00 p.m.
Chasing Latino Votes: the parties’ strategies

Columbia Journalism School Professor and former dean, Nicholas Lemann, leads a discussion with former New Mexico Governor and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, and Daniel Garza, Executive Director of the LIBRE Initiative and former Deputy Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Interior. Topics of discussion: the emergence and impact of the Latino vote. When did the Latino vote begin to matter, does it really now, and if so, how well are the major political parties managing strategies to capture that part of the voting constituency? How will the presence of two prominent Latinos in the race alter Latino voter tendencies this year, if at all? Discussion will include Q&A with participants.

2:30 p.m.
The Hispanic Pulse: the truth about polling

How do you quantify the strength of the Latino vote? Is it really measurable by polling Latinos, and how reliable are those polls? National pollsters provide a view of how to read, use and interpret voter polls. Discussion will include Q&A with participants.


* Jeff Horwitt, Senior Vice President, Hart Research, Washington DC
* Micah Roberts, Vice President, Public Opinion Strategies, Washington DC

Jose Díaz-Balart, Telemundo National News Anchor and MSNBC host

4:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks by Steve Coll, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism and Henry R. Luce Professor in Journalism

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-latino-vote-myth-vs-reality-tickets-19643227422

Return to TOP


Canada’s Fast-Track Refugee Plan: Unanswered Questions and Implications for U.S. National Security

Senate Committee on Homeland Security
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 3, 2016
SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC, 20510


Guidy Mamann
Senior Partner
Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell, LLP
Toronto, Canada

David B. Harris
Director, International Intelligence Program
INSIGNIS Strategic Research, Inc.
Ottawa, Canada

Dean Mandel
Border Patrol Agent, Buffalo Sector
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Testifying on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council

Laura Dawson
Director, Canada Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Return to TOP


Crisis of Confidence: Preventing Terrorist Infiltration through U.S. Refugee and Visa Programs

House Committee on Homeland Security
10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 3, 2016
311 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20003


Overview: Terrorists have continually exploited weaknesses in our nation’s visa and refugee process as a means to gain access to the country. From 9/11 to San Bernardino and the recent case of Iraqi refugees in Houston and California, it is clear that government officials must do more to prevent terrorists from exploiting American hospitality. This hearing will explore ways to further strengthen visa and refugee security.

Return to TOP


Forum on Migration, Citizenship and Demography, Conference on Demography
Thursday-Friday, February 4-5, 2016
Villa La Fonte, European University Institute
Florence, Italy

Description: The EUI’s Forum provides a frame to reflect on migration-related issues in the current context of the mass movements of refugees and migrants. It seeks to bring together academics, experts, stakeholders and practitioners in order to explore – and draw practical lessons from – unique challenges that these movements pose for both Europe and the world. Beyond the immediate crisis, the Forum will concentrate on migration’s far-reaching impact in four domains: demography; integration management; the repercussions for Europe’s fundamental premises; and the global governance of population flows.

Conference program:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

9:00-9:30 a.m.
Introduction to the Forum on Migration, Citizenship and Demography
Joseph Weiler, President, EUI; Brigid Laffan, Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI

Introduction to Demography and Migration
Philippe Fargues, Director of the Migration Policy Centre, EUI

9:30-9:50 a.m.
First Session – The Future of Europe’s Demography
Chair and Discussant: Alessandra Venturini, EUI

Europe’s Demographic Future: 4-Dimensional Scenarios for assessing the Impacts of Migration
Wolfgang Lutz, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

9:50-10:10 a.m.
Ageing, senescence and longevity: are there limits?
Gustavo De Santis, University of Florence

10:10-10:50 a.m.

11:10-11:30 a.m.
Population ageing and skills ageing
Philippe Fargues, EUI

11:30-11:50 a.m.
The Challenges of an Ageing Population for Savings, Capital Markets, Productivity and Growth in the EU
Juan Dolado, EUI

11:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

2:00-2:20 p.m.
Second Session – Migration and Demographic Reproduction
Chair and Discussant: Emmanuel Comte, Max Weber Fellow, EUI

Replacement migration – Revisiting a debated concept 15 years later
Pablo Lattes, United Nations Population Division, New York

2:20-2:40 p.m.
Will the current refugee crisis impact Europe’s demography?
Massimo Livi Bacci, University of Florence

2:40-3:00 p.m.
European and national rules on migration: do they factor demography?
Philippe de Bruycker, EUI

3:00-3:40 p.m.

4:10-4:30 p.m.
Family reunion and the snowball demographic effect of migration
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence, EUI

4:30-4:50 p.m.
Ageing and attitudes
Justyna Salamonska, EUI

4:50-5:30 p.m.

Friday, February 5, 2016

9:30-9:50 a.m.
Third Session – Migration and Global Demography
Chair and discussant: Ivan Martin, EUI

High fertility and African migration to the European Union
Anastasia Gage, Tulane University

9:50-10:10 a.m.
Refugee crises one generation later: what lessons could Europe learn from Iran?
Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi | University of Tehran | National Institute of Population Research, Iran; Australian National University

10:10-10:50 a.m.

11:10-11:30 a.m.
The demand of caregivers in an aging society
Alessandra Venturini, EUI

11:30-11:50 a.m.
Malthusian remittances: migration and the cultural diffusion of the fertility transition
Hillel Rapoport, EUI

11:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

2:00-2:20 p.m.
Fourth Session – Migration and Demography: Tools and Policies
Chair and discussant: Peter Bosch, European Commission

Migration in present and future EU demography
Giampaolo Lanzieri, Eurostat

2:20-2:40 p.m.
Trends and composition of migrant flows: what role for policy?
Thomas Liebig, OECD

2:40-3:20 p.m.

4:10-4:30 p.m.
Which migrants are needed for growth and innovation?
Sona Kalantaryan, EUI

4:30-4:50 p.m.
Migrants and natives: two separate populations or one new population?
Gianpiero Dalla-Zuanna, Padua University and Alessandra Minello, EUI

4:50-5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m.
Concluding remarks
Brigid Laffan, Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI

Return to TOP


Book Panel and Discussion: Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies

12:00 p.m., Friday, February 5, 2016
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093

Claire Adida, Assistant Professor of Political Science, UC San Diego and David Laitin, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

Peter Gourevitch, Founding Dean and Professor Emeritus, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UCSD

Return to TOP


The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the United States

10:00-11:30 a.m., Monday, February 8, 2016
Brookings Institution, Saul/Zilkha Rooms
1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036

Description: Terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have stoked fears among some Americans regarding the possible entry of Syrian refugees into the United States. Concerns exist that, along with refugees, members of the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations might enter the country and carry out attacks against the U.S. homeland. These fears, coupled with often vitriolic political rhetoric, have alarmed American Muslims. What is the true level of danger refugees pose? How can the United States best contribute to managing the Syrian refugee problem? Given the 2016 presidential elections, what options are politically viable?

On January 25, the Center for Middle East Policy and the Governance Studies program at Brookings will host a discussion on the U.S. role in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. The panel will include Elizabeth Ferris and William Galston of Brookings, experts on refugee resettlement and U.S. politics respectively, as well as Robert McKenzie, a new Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World visiting fellow whose research focuses on Muslim communities in the West. Daniel Byman, senior fellow and research director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the panel. Following the discussion, the panelists will take audience questions.

This discussion is the first in a series of Foreign Policy at Brookings events focusing on the refugee crisis and the U.S. and international community’s response.


Elizabeth Ferris
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Project on International Order and Strategy

William A. Galston
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies

Robert L. McKenzie
Visiting Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World


Daniel L. Byman
Research Director, Center for Middle East Policy, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy

Return to TOP


Migrants' Rights in the UN Human Rights Committee

The Myron Weiner Seminar Series on International Migration

4:30-6:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Department of Sociology
Center for International Studies, E40-496
1 Amherst Street, Cambridge MA 02142

Gerald Neuman, Co-Director of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School

Contact: Phiona Lovett: (617) 253-3848, phiona@mit.edu

Corporate gas leak in California’s Aliso Canyon to continue for months

Corporate gas leak in California’s Aliso Canyon to continue for months


Corporate gas leak in California’s Aliso Canyon to continue for months

By David Brown
26 January 2016
This Sunday, state regulators ordered the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) to permanently close the natural gas well responsible for the largest methane leak in US history. The leak began on October 23, 2015, and has continued unabated until now, releasing the equivalent of 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and forcing thousands of local families to relocate. The leak is not expected to be stopped until the end of March.
The leak at the SoCalGas Aliso Canyon underground storage facility was caused by the failure of antiquated infrastructure and completely inadequate maintenance and inspection. The leak began last October with a rupture in a well casing, which was drilled in 1959, causing methane to seep up through the soil into the neighboring Porter Ranch, a suburb of Los Angeles. Roughly 4,500 families so far have evacuated the area to avoid the leak.
An aerial survey of the area carried out by UC Davis scientist Stephen Conley showed methane levels of 50 parts per million in November. Conley told the Los Angeles Times “this is probably 20 times bigger than anything else we’ve measured.”
Natural gas which is primarily composed of methane is not considered toxic or dangerous when it is able to dissipate, but some of the chemicals associated with it are. Natural gas is mixed with an odorant to make it smell like rotten eggs to warn people of leaks in their homes. The current large-scale leak is causing some residents to suffer difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, nosebleeds and vomiting.
Natural gas, particularly that produced by hydraulic fracturing, can also contain benzene, a toxic carcinogen.
A leak of this size will inevitably have an impact on global warming. Methane is roughly 84 times more effective at trapping energy over a period of 20 years than is carbon dioxide. After 100 years, methane remains 25 times more potent. At its high point in December, the leak rate peaked at 58,000 kg per hour, or the emissions equivalent of about 900 cars driving for a year, every hour.
SoCalGas has played a criminal role in their failure to maintain their facilities and in their delays in dealing with the leak. In 2014, SoCalGas submitted a request to state regulators to raise their rates, ostensibly to pay for comprehensive inspections of 229 storage wells. The report listed 26 of their wells as “high risk” entities that should be abandoned. It is unclear whether the Aliso Canyon well that broke was one of those.
It is clear is that SoCalGas knew of significant risks in their equipment and, rather than fix them, tried to use them to blackmail workers into paying higher rates. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy which made $1.2 billion in profit in 2014. The amount the company sought in increased rates over the next six years was $180 million, about 2.5 percent of their expected yearly profits.
Despite knowing that their well lacked many modern safety features, like a shutoff valve at the base, SoCalGas continued to cut corners and use the injection well in a risky manner. Most wells consist of a metal casing surrounding a narrower metal tube, and SoCalGas was using the casing itself to inject natural gas, not just the internal tube, raising the risk of a leak.
After the leak was initially discovered on October 23, SoCalGas denied its existence to the public until five days later and did not start drilling a relief well until December 4, six weeks after the leak began. Instead they made six attempts in November to block the well with mud and brine which failed and may have actually increased the leak rate. The first relief well is expected to be finished by February 24, with a second well planned, eventually allowing the leaking well to be capped by the end of March.
This is not the first disaster coming from California’s natural gas infrastructure. In 2010 pipes owned by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) exploded in San Bruno, killing eight people, injuring 60 and destroying or damaging 161 homes. For years before the 2010 disaster, PG&E demanded and received rate hikes in 2007 and 2009 to pay for maintenance, yet long stretches of antiquated pipes in residential areas were left untouched, leading to the explosion.
More recently, PG&E received $2.37 billion in rate hikes spread out over three years from state regulators last August to pay for “maintenance.” PG&E’s profit in 2014 was nearly $2 billion dollars, and there is no reason to believe that this new profit will be used for maintenance any more than their current profit is.
The government response to these companies’ reckless threats and negligence has been complete acquiescence. Rate hikes are approved for companies already making large profits, infrastructure is left uninspected, and when it does collapse, government fines are barely even a slap on the wrist. Under current laws, SoCalGas faces a maximum fine of $25,000 for the Aliso Canyon leak.