Asylum, Refugee Status, & Deportation: Debunking Misinformation

WED, JUL 24, 2019 (1:19:15)

This country has long welcomed those who are persecuted and oppressed in their home countries and offered them asylum. But what does that really mean?

What is it like to be an asylum seeker?
How do you apply for asylum?
How long does the asylum process take?
What if you don’t speak English?
Can you still apply for asylum even if you are in the United States undocumented?
Are asylum seekers also refugees?
What’s going on at the migrant detention centers?

An expert panel joins the Zakim Builders Breakfast to explain the process of asylum seeking and help foster understanding of the complexity of asylum and granting legal status.

+ BIO: Dr. Westy Egmont

With a doctorate in pastoral counseling, Dr. Egmont has focused on the human needs and social services of newcomer communities, immigrant rights, and the complex dynamic two-way process of immigrant integration. His work has led to the creation of BCSSW’s Immigrant Integration Lab, a pioneering endeavor in relating demographic shifts of developed nations, social policy, and social practices that foster the full economic, social and civic participation of the newcomer to studying the mechanisms of incorporation by the receiving society. Prior work as a missionary educator and in executive leadership of anti-poverty social service agencies makes the issue of applied research his priority. Dr Egmont is the Co-Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Immigrants and Refugees, having served as an adviser to six governors.

+ BIO: Anita P. Sharma

Anita P. Sharma, Esq., is the Executive Director of the PAIR Project. She serves as co-chair of the Liaison Committee on Asylum for the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a steering committee member of the Boston Bar Association’s (BBA) Delivery of Legal Services Section. She co-chaired the BBA’s Immigration Section and is currently a steering committee member. Anita received the Unsung Heroine of Massachusetts Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, and BBA’s John G. Brooks Public Service Award for outstanding representation of asylum-seekers and mentorship to hundreds of pro bono attorneys. PAIR, the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) is a nationally recognized pro bono model that works to secure safety and freedom for asylum-seekers who have fled from persecution throughout the world and to promote the rights of immigrants unjustly detained. PAIR provides hope and a new beginning to asylum-seekers, torture survivors and immigration detainees.

+ BIO: Sarath Suong

Sarath is a co-founder of PrYSM. Born in the Thai Refugee camp Khao I Dang, his family fled Cambodia during the war and immigrated to his hometown of Revere, MA. To cope with the violence, pain, and injustices facing Southeast Asian Americans, he became a community organizer, centered around the unique intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Sarath is also biggest X-Men fanatic you’d ever meet.

+ BIO: Wilson Taty Kapanga-Ndjibu

Wilson-taty Kapang-Ndjibu, along with his wife, Naomi, and their infant daughter, survived a harrowing journey from their native Congo, through South Africa, to Brazil, Mexico and finally coming to rest in Boston in 2011. PAIR Project was instrumental in helping Wilson and his family apply for asylum and LZF grant recipient, Refugee Immigration Ministry, helped Wilson and his family settle in to life in Massachusetts. Wilson, Naomi, and their two children live in Haverhill where he serves on the Board of Directors of Temple Emanu-El.

The Lenny Zakim Fund
Human Migration: Policy and Practice