Catholic Charities’ NYC Division Chief to Discuss U.S. Immigration Transition April 24

Mario Russell, director of New York Catholic Charities’ Immigrant & Refugee Services Division will discuss via zoom the current state of the U.S. immigration system Saturday, April 24th at 11 a.m. at Bnai Keshet in Montclair as part of its monthly Kaplan Minyan series. His talk, “American Immigration: A Very Brief History and What We Know So Far About the Trump-to-Biden Transition’, is free of charge and open to all. For Zoom link, visit

Russell’s division serves over 30,000 vulnerable newcomers a year, including over 5,000 unaccompanied children seeking protection and family reunification and is a national and regional leader in providing them with direct services and advocacy. His division encompasses New York City and the Hudson Valley; it provides legal defense, workforce integration, case management, detained unaccompanied minors’ assistance, refugee resettlement, ESL instruction, and hotline information services.

Russell’s experience includes litigation and direct representation in the administrative and federal courts and overseeing the St. John’s University Law School immigration trial defense clinic. He has taught courses on immigration and international law and trained internationally on clinical programming implementation and comparative protection and human rights law. He has taught in Rome, Italy, and he has consulted with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Poland and Hungary and with the National Commission on Migration in Thailand.

Russell served as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School, and previously worked at CLINIC, Arent/Fox, and on the U.S. District Court in Maryland. He received the St. John’s University St. Vincent DePaul Medal of Mission and the Seafarers & International House Outstanding Friend of Immigrants Award. In 1987, he earned a BA in Philosophy from Haverford College and, in 1993, a JD (Order of the Coif) from the Maryland University School of Law.

His presentation in Montclair is part of Bnai Keshet’s monthly Kaplan Minyan series, named for Reconstructionist Judaism founder Mordecai Kaplan. The talks are designed for people who enjoy a communal Shabbat and seek to enrich their understanding of Jewish peoplehood in a less traditional setting.

Reconstructing Judaism in and around Montclair, Bnai Keshet is located at 99 So. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair. For more information, visit or call 973-746-4889.

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