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Immigration, religion to be focus of public forum

Religion, immigration and public policy experts from Emory and around the nation will gather Thursday, Sept. 18, for "Focus on Immigration," a day-long series of panel discussions highlighting the role of religion in immigration policy and the lives of migrants.

The event, which is open to the university community and the public, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Tull Auditorium of Emory Law. Admission is free, but attendees are asked to register.

The series of panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions will feature several Emory faculty as speakers, and is part of the annual conference of the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA), the national organization of journalists who cover the religion beat for the secular media.

Panels for the event include:

Religion, Immigration and Politics: Midterms 2014 (9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.)

  • John Blake, (Moderator)
  • Merle Black, Department of Political Science, Emory University
  • Teresa Fry Brown, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Jerry Gonzalez, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials
  • Robert P. Jones, Public Religion Research Institute
  • Suzii Paynter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Religion & Immigrant Support Networks (11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.)

  • Jeremy Redmon, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Moderator)
  • Marie Marquardt, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Manuel Vasquez, University of Florida
  • Don Kerwin, Center for Migration Studies
  • Aparna Bhattacharyya, Raksha

Religion & Immigrant Integration (2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.)

  • Silas Allard, Emory University School of Law (Moderator)
  • Abdullahi An-Na’im, Emory University School of Law
  • Jehu Hanciles, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Don Seeman, Department of Religion, Emory University
  • Karen Lyons, Clarkston United Methodist Church

Traffic Report (4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.)

  • Letitia Campbell, Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University (Moderator)
  • Luis CdeBaca, U.S. Department of State
  • Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
  • Jeff Shaw, Out of Darkness
  • Alia El-Sawi, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Click here for more information on speakers and panel topics. (

"Focus on Immigration" is organized by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory Law, Candler School of Theology, Emory University School of Law and the Laney Graduate School. Co-sponsors include Emory's Department of Religion and the Program for Immigration, Religion and Social Change at the University of Florida.

About 100 media representatives who are RNA members are expected to attend the Sept. 18 event. RNA's conference will continue in Decatur Sept. 19-20, with Emory faculty and staff participating as speakers and panelists on a variety of topics.

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