CONTACT: Anita Aboulafia

(212) 267-6646, ext. 225 (phone) (212) 406-9252 (fax)







NEW YORK – JUNE 3, 2004 – The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) is presenting a free public forum on Flag Day, June 14, titled, THE PATRIOT ACT AND IMMIGRATION: ARE WE CLOSING THE “GOLDEN DOOR”? at its Home of Law at 14 Vesey Street from 6:00- 8:00 PM. Co-sponsored by NYCLA’s Affiliate Bar Associations (a group of six minority bar associations) and four committees and sections of NYCLA, the forum will address the impact the PATRIOT Act has had on New York City’s immigrant and minority populations.


The forum’s five panelists are: Muzaffar Chishti, Director, Migration Policy Institute, NYU School of Law; James Loprest, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York (currently on detail from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security); Victoria Neilson, Legal Director, Immigration Equality; Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Attorney in Private Practice, New York; and Mark von Sternberg, Senior Attorney, Catholic Legal Immigration Network. The forum’s moderator will be Eugene Glicksman, who has practiced immigration and nationality law for more than 20 years and chairs NYCLA’s Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law. A question-and-answer period will follow the panelists’ presentations.


The U.S. PATRIOT Act, which was signed into law on October 26, 2001 in response to the ter- rorist attacks on September 11, 2001, made significant amendments to over 15 important statutes by significantly increasing the surveillance and investigative powers of law enforce- ment agencies in the United States.


In recognition of the immigrant and minority populations’ concerns about the Act, NYCLA’s Affiliate Bar Associations are joining together for the first time to sponsor the forum. NYCLA’s Affiliate Bar Association members are: the Asian American Bar Association, Lesbian & Gay Law Association of Greater New York, Indo American Lawyers’ Association, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Korean-American Lawyers’ Association and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Greater New York. The four NYCLA committees and sections that are also co-sponsors are: the Civil Rights Committee, Criminal Justice Section, Foreign & International Law Committee, and Immigration & Nationality Law Committee.


New York County Lawyers’ Association was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.




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Muzaffar Chishti

Director, Migration Policy Institute (MPI), NYU School of Law

Mr. Chishti is the co-author of a report about the federal detention of suspected terrorists that has taken place since September 11, 2001. The report is based on information compiled through interviews with lawyers and community leaders, and a survey of press reports on more than 400 detainees. In the report, Mr. Chisti concludes that although the terrorist attacks demanded a powerful response, the focus on immigration policy as a major tool for homeland defense has produced blunt and ineffective policies and has alienated immigrant populations. Mr. Chishti is a member and former Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Forum; Secretary of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights; Treasurer of the U.S. Committee for Refugees; and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Law Center, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, and the New York Immigration Coalition.


Eugene Glicksman

Partner, Glicksman & Cardoso

Mr. Glicksman has practiced immigration and nationality law for more than 20 years. He has lectured extensively at bar associations, industry trade groups and the World Trade Institute, as well as at educational institutions such as Fordham University School of Law and the City University of New York. He is Chair of the NYCLA Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law.


James Loprest

Special Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York

Mr. Loprest is a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, currently on detail from the United States Department of Homeland Security. His work involves enforcement of the immigration laws and their interplay with constitutional, international and criminal law. The views expressed are his own, and do not represent any official position of the United States government.


Victoria Neilson

Legal Director, Immigration Equality

Ms. Neilson is the Legal Director of Immigration Equality, a coalition of immigrants, attorneys and other activists who address the widespread impact of discriminatory immigration laws on the lives of those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and immigrants who are living with HIV/AIDS. She has successfully represented clients in applications for asylum, adjustment of status (including HIV waivers), naturalization and deferred action.


Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran

Attorney in Private Practice, New York

Mr. Rudrakumaran has practiced immigration law in both the United States and his native country of Sri Lanka. He has written and lectured widely in the areas of political violence and terrorism, international humanitarian law and human rights issues. Mr. Rudrakumaran has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and Federal District Court. He is a former Co-Chair of the NYCLA Foreign & International Law Committee.


Mark von Sternberg

Senior Attorney, Catholic Charities Community Services/Archdiocese of New York


Mr. von Sternberg’s practice concentrates on litigation before the Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has lectured in law schools and at professional associations regarding immigration matters and has written extensively about refugee law, international humanitarian law and human rights. He is the author of a recently published treatise regarding the refugee definition as applied in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. von Sternberg also serves as an adjunct professor at Pace University School of Law and St. John University’s School of Law.