Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Two-day UTSA conference to explore the responsibility of social workers and human rights in migration

Two-day UTSA conference to explore the responsibility of social workers and human rights in migration

The 2nd Binational Conference Mexico-United States is Nov. 15-16 at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

(Nov. 6, 2017) -- Immigration, deportation and human rights will be among the topics discussed at the 2nd Binational Conference Mexico-United States, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 15-16 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The conference is free and open to the public.

Experts in research, policy, and practice, and individuals with migration and human rights backgrounds, will gather at UTSA to exchange ideas about the transnational responsibility of social workers in Mexico and the United States in migratory processes and human rights. Discussion topics include:

  • immigration policy
  • social work intervention with the migrant population
  • justice and due process with unaccompanied minors and immigrant families
  • deportation and forced return to new environments
  • developing strategies for social workers
  • NGOs and social actors who develop policy strategies for the return of vulnerable migrants

“The UTSA master’s in social work program and the College of Public Policy are uniquely suited to host this conference,” said Amy Chanmugam, associate professor and chair in the UTSA Department of Social Work. “While most MSW programs require students to choose between a “micro” track focused on clinical helping skills or a “macro” track focused policy and leadership, UTSA MSW students master both areas, with a focus on transformative, culturally competent practice. With this training, social workers can be prepared for all levels of practice in migration and human rights, whether providing therapeutic interventions with migrants who have experienced trauma, linking families with community resources, providing organizational leadership to develop services for migrant populations, or influencing migration policies.”

The conference agenda includes speakers from universities across the United States and Mexico, individuals with personal migration experiences, and social work and immigration practitioners working in Texas. Each of the two-day event’s nine panels will include perspectives from Mexican and U.S. speakers. The conference will also feature several keynote presentations and special guests, including:

  • Rogelio Saenz, dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy
  • Ramon Ramirez Valtierra, head of the Migration Policy Unit for the Mexican Federal Government
  • Maria Elena Ramos Tovar, professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
  • Melissa Maldonado Torres, director of the human trafficking research portfolio at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin

Notably, State Representative Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) will facilitate a panel focused on the implications for social workers of DACA and human rights for DREAMers on the second day of the conference.

Local officials welcoming the conference participants include UTSA President Taylor Eighmy and San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldaña.

The conference will conclude with discussion of how universities and social workers can continue transnational collaboration to address their responsibility supporting the human rights of migrants.

The 2nd Binational Conference Mexico-United States is jointly hosted by the UTSA College of Public Policy, its Department of Social Work and the Red Nacional de Instituciones de Education Superior en Trabajo Social (National Network of Higher Education Institutions in Social Work). Guests are asked to register in advance.

- Courtney Clevenger

Learn more about the UTSA 2nd Binational Conference Mexico-United States.

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