Immigration and the States: Advancing State Policy Priorities in Immigration

Several states have created dedicated offices to advance state immigration policy priorities in such areas as economic development, citizenship promotion, and talented workforce recruitment. The Pew Charitable Trusts will lead a discussion among representatives from these offices to hear examples of how they are achieving various state-policy aims regarding immigration. The panel will highlight the roles they play in advancing immigrant integration, and areas where state engagement is important for any future federal immigration reform. Panelists:

  • Adam Hunter, Director, Immigration and the States, The Pew Charitable Trusts -- Adam Hunter directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ immigration and the states project, examining the intersection of federal, state, and local immigration laws and policies and their impact on all levels of government. Before joining Pew, Hunter was the acting chief of staff at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security, which administers immigration benefits and related activities for the U.S. government. In an earlier capacity at USCIS, he managed citizenship and immigrant integration policy research, interagency initiatives, and international engagement. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in German and European studies from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
  • Jorge Montalvo, Director, New York Office for New Americans -- Jorge Montalvo serves in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration as the top policy advisor to the New York Secretary of State and Director of the New York State Office for New Americans. He has distinguished himself as one of the most entrepreneurial thinkers in public service. He employs his training as a chemist to take a “systems-based approach to make change and open opportunities for hard-working people.” Among some of his many accomplishments, Montalvo developed the State’s Opportunity Agenda to ensure those living in poverty were included in the state’s economic revitalization, helped merge the State’s consumer protection and occupation licensing agencies and created the Empire State Fellows program - an innovative approach to attracting and training cross-sector leaders for public service.
  • Karen Phillippi, Deputy Director, Michigan Office for New Americans -- Karen Phillippi is the Deputy Director of the Michigan Office for New Americans in the Executive Office of Governor Rick Snyder. She began her more than 20 years of work in immigration law by serving as the Immigration and State Department Specialist for U.S. Senator Don Riegle. She is very passionate about immigration and has served on a variety of boards and committees related to the issue including serving as Board Chair for Global Detroit; Chairperson for the Global Michigan initiative; and serving on the advisory boards for the Global Talent Retention Initiative; Welcome Mat Detroit; and, Welcoming Michigan. Karen is very active in promoting the benefits that immigrants have on the economy, and making Michigan a more immigrant-friendly state.
  • Marcony Almeida-Barros, Acting Executive Director, Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants -- Marcony Almeida-Barros serves since July 2014 as the Acting Executive Director for the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, having joined ORI in January 2013 as its Chief of Staff. Prior to ORI, he was the Director of Organizing and Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) where he worked primarily in the area of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, assisted with the management of the agency’s policies and procedures, performed outreach, advocacy and communications on legislative efforts, as well as immigration trainings for interested stakeholders. In 2003, the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians presented him with the New Bostonian of the Year Award for his significant contribution to improve the lives of the immigrant and refugee communities in the city of Boston. Mr. Almeida-Barros received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism at Universidade Católica de Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, and a Master’s of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communications, with concentration in leadership, from Northeastern University in Boston.
  • Teresa Reyes, Director, Illinois Office of New Americans -- Teresa Reyes is the Director of the Illinois Governor’s Office of New Americans where she ensures human rights protections and access to justice for immigrants through various programs, policies, and public education. GONA has been unique in building on the foundation of the strengths of New Americans in order to promote stronger immigrant integration throughout Illinois. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, she served as District Director for Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois’ Fourth Congressional District, where she managed congressional casework, was responsible for community outreach, acted as a liaison for local community groups and national organizations. The daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, Ms. Reyes is a first generation college graduate and was born and raised in the far South East Side of Chicago.