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Experts available to discuss refugees and forced migration

DePaul University scholars in international studies, law and more offer insights

St Vincent circle on DePauls campus
CHIC​AGO — This week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared a state of emergency as more than 8,000 migrants have arrived to the city since Texas began bussing them north last year. DePaul University faculty experts are available to provide context and insight on forced migration, resettlement and immigration policy. Their expertise is wide-ranging, including international relations, law and psychology. Several are members of the DePaul Migration Collaborative , which leverages the power of interdisciplinary scholarly collaboration to pursue dynamic, community-engaged projects, advocacy and research.

Contact experts directly via email or, for assistance arranging interviews, email or call 312-241-9856.

Sioban Albiol, Director, Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, College of Law; Co-Director, DePaul Migration Collaborative

Through partnerships with more than two dozen community groups, Sioban Albiol and the law clinic advocate on behalf of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers throughout Illinois, focusing specifically on increasing access to justice for low-income immigrants and refugees.

  • U.S. asylum law
  • Family-based immigration
  • Challenges low-income immigrant and refugee face in access to information and legal representation
  • Partnerships with refugee resettlement organizations

Kathleen Arnold, Director of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Program

Kathleen Arnold researches and teaches courses on the public health impact of forced migration, immigration law and human rights. She has appeared on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” to discuss how climate change impacts U.S. and global migration.

  • U.S. refugee program
  • What community organizations in Chicago are doing to help resettle migrants

Allison Brownell Tirres, Associate Professor of Law, College of Law

Allison Brownell Tirres studies and teaches immigration law and policy, and constitutional law. Her research focuses on immigration, citizenship and civil rights in both historical and contemporary perspectives.

  • History of the system of immigrant and refugee admissions
  • Legal process for immigrant and refugee admissions
  • The challenges the current immigration system faces in meeting the needs of migrants

Thomas Mockaitis, Professor of History

Thomas Mockaitis is a internationally renowned expert on terrorism and extremism, and he teaches in the Refugee and Forced Migration Studies program. “We desperately need a comprehensive, long-term immigration strategy that considers our ability to accommodate immigrants and addresses the root causes of forced migration. Instead, we have seen a series of ad hoc responses to each ensuing crisis,” Mockaitis wrote recently in The Hill .

  • History of migration in the U.S.
  • Extremist rhetoric and domestic terrorism targeting minoritized populations

Craig Mousin, Ombudsperson, Faculty, Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Program, Grace School of Applied Diplomacy

Craig Mousin teaches refugee and immigration law at the College of Law. He is a member of the Leadership Council of the National Immigrant Justice Center and a former president and board member of the Immigration Project of downstate Illinois.

  • Asylum law and international refugee law with a particular emphasis on the consequences of religious persecution and remedies available to persons seeking asylum and safe haven

Shailja Sharma, Professor; Co-Director, DePaul Migration Collaborative

Shailja Sharma works on migration, refugee flows and diaspora. She recently wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune arguing the migration crisis is “manufactured”, and one we can solve.

  • Violence, displacement and citizenship
  • Immigration policy and history in the U.S.

Shana Wills, Part-Time Faculty, Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Program

Shana Wills is the founder and board president of Refugee Education & Adventure Challenge (REACH), an organization that works with refugee youth ages 10-18 and provides academic, leadership and social-emotional learning support and outdoor education opportunities.

  • Effect of migration on families, adolescents and children
  • Needs refugees will have upon arriving in Chicago
  • How the U.S. refugee program works and trouble spots within the program
  • Why it’s a moral imperative to give Afghans refuge in the U.S.
  • Groups doing refugee work in Chicago

Media contact:
312-241-9856 (Media line)