World Refugee Day 2020: Welcome and Protect

18 June 2020 at 2:00pm

The global pandemic calls us to both welcome and protect one another. As the virus has traveled across borders, it has shown us how interdependent we are, and that we cannot live as nations, races, or people independent of one another – we are in this together. But new and existing policies in the United States deny asylum seekers both welcome and protection, putting those who have been forcibly displaced in danger.

Ahead of World Refugee Day join us on Thursday, June 18 at 2PM ET, as experts discuss the current situation on the US-Mexico Border, the impact of these policies on asylum seekers in Mexico, and what we can do to ensure our system of asylum stays intact even during a global pandemic.

Speakers include:

  • Yael Schacher, Senior U.S. Advocate, Refugees International
  • Patricia Hernandez Lopez, Country Director, JRS Mexico
  • Joanna Williams, Director of Education and Advocacy, Kino Border Initiative
  • Giulia McPherson, JRS/USA, Director of Advocacy and Operations (Moderator)

We will stream the event live on our Facebook Page and Youtube.

Learn more about US asylum policy and how it impacts on the lives of those seeking refuge in our new report, Stranded: the Impact of US Policy on Asylum Seekers

View the event live here and on Facebook:


questions for our panelists? email them to

Speaker bios

Yael Schacher is the senior U.S. advocate at Refugees International, where she focuses on U.S. asylum, U.S. refugee admissions, temporary protected status, and humanitarian visas. Prior to joining Refugees International, Yael worked on her forthcoming book about the history of asylum in the United States as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She spent several years teaching about immigration at the University of Connecticut and volunteering at the legal services office of the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants. She has an M.A. in History and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University.

Joanna Williams has been the Director of Education and Advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative / Iniciativa Kino para la Frontera in Nogales, Arizona and Sonora since 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and received a Master’s in Public Policy from Arizona State University. Prior to her current position, she has journeyed with immigrants in a variety of contexts. She volunteered at a shelter in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, conducted Fulbright research on the reintegration of deported and return migrants, and worked as a coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Border Litigation Project.

Patricia Hernández Lopez has been the Country Director of JRS México since October 2019. She received a PHD in Migration Studies from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Mexico and has master’s degrees in Social Science and Local Development. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in International Affairs from the University of El Salvador. Patricia has seven years of experience in migration-related research, most recently focused on the re-integration of Salvadoran deportees. Previously, she worked on projects related to the prevention of youth violence and sustainable economics.