Community advocates seeking to shine the spotlight on the region's immigrant community will gather Thursday at Hofstra University for a summit on immigration orders now held up in legal and budget battles between states, Congress and the White House.
Participants in the conference, titled "Long Island at a Turning Point," will look ahead at the significance of thousands of immigrants qualifying for lawful presence if programs ordered by President Barack Obama are cleared for implementation, organizers said.
The event also aims to highlight economic contributions of immigrants in Nassau and Suffolk counties, estimated at more than 500,000 people, according to 2013 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. It is hosted by Hofstra and Long Island Wins, a nonprofit advocacy group.
"The summit, really, comes within the context of the ongoing deliberations and debates around immigration policy and reform at the national level," said Mario Murillo, co-director of Hofstra's Center for Civic Engagement, an institute promoting active citizenship.
The gathering, Murillo said, is "not designed to debate policy issues," but "to find collaborative solutions that we can work on to improve the situation on Long Island" for immigrants.
The keynote speaker during a breakfast with advocacy leaders will be Michael Dowling, president and chief executive of North Shore-LIJ Health Systems, himself an emigrant of Limerick, Ireland.
Panels open to the public will start at 9:45 a.m. at the university's Mack Student Center and will touch on issues including health care, school districts and the region's economy. The last panel begins at 1 p.m.
Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, director of Long Island Wins, said the goal is to discuss ways in which immigrants can "become full participants of the communities where they have lived for years, if not decades."