Top Experts to Discuss Economics of Immigration Reform

by Rashad Mulla

One of the main goals of the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR) at George Mason University is to enlighten the public regarding the contributions of immigrants and immigration to the economic welfare of the United States. Next week, a team of five well-respected voices in the debate for immigration reform will help IIR further that goal. 

The institute will host an event titled, “Economics of Immigration Reform,” a panel discussion that takes place Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 8 a.m. in Founders Hall, located on Mason’s Arlington campus. The event, sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is free of charge but requires an RSVP by Sept. 16. A light breakfast will be served.

The event panel consists of:

  • Audrey Singer (moderator), Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program
  • Ali Noorani, National Immigration Forum
  • Dolly Oberoi, C² Technologies, Inc.
  • Congressman Joe Garcia, D-Florida, 26th District
  • Ryan Spiegel, Gaithersburg City Council
  • Donald Heflin, U.S. Department of State

Audrey Singer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and an expert in demography, international migration, U.S. immigration policy, and urban change. She has authored several articles on immigration, as well as commentaries in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other publications. She has held positions with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the U.S. Department of Labor, and Georgetown University. She holds a BA in sociology from Temple University and an MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, brings a range of experience in policy advocacy and non-profit leadership. Since taking the reins of the National Immigration Forum in 2008, he has secured Better Business Bureau accreditation and a positive rating from Charity Navigator. Noorani has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, ABC News, and a host of other stations to discuss immigration policy and politics. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an MPH from Boston University.

Dolly Oberoi is the CEO of C² Technologies, Inc., a company dedicated to improving performance and productivity for a host of clients, both government and corporate. Oberoi herself has received numerous awards, including the “Bravo Award,” the “INDUS Women Leaders Award,” the “Pride of India” award, and the “Women Who Mean Business” award. In addition, she was recognized by Ernst and Young as an “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist. She holds master’s degrees from Harvard University and the Delhi School of Economics at Delhi University in India.

Congressman Joe Garcia represents Florida’s 26th District. He served on the Florida Public Service Commission in the 1990s, working with local government to cut energy costs for families. He has also served as the executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, and later, as a director in the Department of Energy, a direct appointment by President Barack Obama in 2009. He has worked on the board of the Spanish American League Against Discrimination and Regis House, a drug addiction prevention center for Miami youth. Rep. Garcia graduated from the University of Miami and the University of Miami Law School.

Ryan Spiegel has served on the Gaithersburg City Council since 2007. He works on committees for the Council of Governments and the National League of Cities, and is vice president of the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Municipal League. He spearheaded “Bank on Gaithersburg,” an initiative that promotes financial stability for local residents. Spiegel is an attorney at the Potomac Law Group in Washington, D.C., and has worked human rights cases pro bono. He earned a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Donald Heflin is the managing director of the Visa Office for the U.S. Department of State. A native of Leesburg, Va., he graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 1980, and then from the University of Alabama Law School in 1983. Heflin joined the Foreign Service in 1987 and served as Vice Consul in Lima (Peru) and Madras (India), then Consul in Hermosillo and Sonora (Mexico), and then in Lusaka (Zambia). After earning a master’s degree in strategic studies at the National War College in 2004, he worked in African Affairs at the State Department for five years, finishing as Acting Director of West African Affairs. A career member of the Foreign Service, he assumed the position of Principal Officer at the American Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, in August, 2009, before assuming his current position.

Please join the Institute for Immigration Research and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for what is sure to be an enlightening event.