NYC’s Migration Crisis: Drivers, Challenges, and Solutions
Virtual Briefing Series
Thursday, February 1st, 2024 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET
Since spring 2022, more than 130,000 migrants have arrived in New York City, a city that is known for welcoming and integrating generations of immigrants. Yet, the strain on local government resources and shelters had led Mayor Eric Adams to call the situation a humanitarian crisis and even declare a state of emergency, claiming that the federal and state governments are not doing enough to help the city with this challenge. With the mayor stating that the city has reached capacity and meeting with leaders of other countries to discourage further migration to New York City, what does this current migration influx mean for “The City of Dreams”? How can New York, and the United States, remain a beacon of hope for those looking for opportunity in a new country while remaining fiscally prudent? This second part of our Migration Mini-Series will put the current crisis in historical context and will explore the current dynamic between federal and local leadership in an attempt to shed light on positive solutions. Join us on Thursday, February 1st from 12 PM to 1 PM ET for a virtual conversation with Ms. Camille Joseph Varlack, Chief of Staff to Mayor Eric Adams of New York City; Mr. Muzaffar Chishti, Senior Fellow at Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and Director of MPI’s office at New York University School of Law; and Professor Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York when they will discuss these questions and more.
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Ms. Camille Joseph Varlack
Camille Joseph Varlack is the Chief of Staff to the 110th Mayor of New York City. She is a founding partner and former chief operating officer of Bradford Edwards & Varlack LLP, where she led the firm’s business advisory, employment, risk and crisis management practices. Ms. Varlack represented large financial institutions and other clients in government investigations, civil litigation, employment disputes, audit defense and provided guidance on many other matters.
Ms. Varlack is a former Assistant District Attorney in Kings County. She previously served as Assistant Vice President and Counsel of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and as Corporate Secretary of a broker-dealer subsidiary. Ms. Varlack was a principal court attorney to a New York State Supreme Court Justice, and served as Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance to the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services.
Ms. Varlack served in the New York State Executive Chamber as Deputy Director of State Operations, Chief Risk Officer and Special Counsel. In that capacity, she managed the operations, general policy development and implementation of major policy initiatives for 60+ New York State agencies and authorities. Ms. Varlack was in charge of leading teams through statewide crises including natural disasters, storm response, potential terrorist activities and cyber attacks, as well as responding to a multitude of public health crises. As Chief Risk Officer she was helped manage audit, compliance and internal control issues for state agencies and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the first statewide enterprise risk management system.
Ms. Varlack earned her Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School, where she served as a Senior Editor for the Brooklyn Journal of International Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a past chair of the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Muzaffar Chishti, a lawyer, is a Senior Fellow at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and Director of MPI’s office at New York University School of Law.
Prior to joining MPI, Mr. Chishti was Director of the Immigration Project of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial & Textile Employees (UNITE).
He has authored or coauthored a number of publications on US immigration admission policies, immigration enforcement, and rights of immigrants.
Mr. Chishti serves on the boards of directors of the New York Immigration Coalition and the Asian American Federation. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Forum and the National Immigration Law Center, and as a member of the American Bar Association’s Coordinating Committee on Immigration.
He has testified extensively on immigration policy issues before Congress and is frequently quoted in the media. In 1992, as part of a U.S. team, he assisted the Russian Parliament in drafting its legislation on forced migrants and refugees. He is a recipient of the New York State Governor’s Award for Outstanding Asian Americans, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Mr. Chishti was educated at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi; the University of Delhi; Cornell Law School; and the Columbia School of International Affairs.
Professor Nancy Foner
Nancy Foner is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her recent work has focused on comparing immigration in the US today and in the past; immigrant minorities in the US and Europe; and how immigration has been remaking American society. She has written extensively on immigration to New York City, past and present, as well as Jamaican migration to New York and London, especially on issues of race and ethnicity, gender, and family dynamics.
Foner is the author or editor of more than 20 books; the most recent is One Quarter of the Nation: Immigration and the Transformation of America (Princeton University Press, 2022). Her other books include the award-winning From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration (Yale University Press, 2000), In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration (NYU Press, 2005), One Out of Three: Immigrant New York in the Twenty-First Century (Columbia University Press, 2013), and, with Richard Alba, Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe (Princeton University Press, 2015). She has also published more than 130 journal articles and book chapters.
Among her other activities, she was the 2014-15 President of the Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on the Integration of Immigrants into U.S. Society. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2010 Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association and the 2018 Merit Award from the ESS. She was awarded a Berlin Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin (2017) and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2017-18). In 2011, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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