Yeshiva University Conference on The Emotional Journey to Political Asylum

March 17 08:34 2023
Yeshiva University Conference on The Emotional Journey to Political Asylum
“For all professionals who work with asylum seekers – including those in the legal, immigration, social work and psychology fields — it’s imperative to understand the desperation and vulnerable state of mind of refugees,” says William Salton, clinical professor at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.
The United States has offered political asylum to refugees for more than seventy years. This protection allows individuals to live in the U.S. when persecution at home has threatened life itself. But the path to asylum is complex and challenging on both legal and psychological levels.

The Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University is presenting a conference on “The Emotional Journey to Asylum: Psychological, Legal and Public Policy Issues” online via Zoom and in person at YU Museum, 15 West 16th Street in NYC on March 26th, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Eastern Time.  This interdisciplinary program will explore the emotional journey of those involved in initiating and then securing political asylum rights in the United States.

The conference will begin with a panel of three asylum seekers who will share their traumatic experiences before and after their arrival in the U.S.  Following that, guest speakers including lawyers, immigration judges and psychologists who help pave the asylee’s way to legal protection will discuss the psychological aspects of asylum.  Finally, U.S. congressman Adriano Espaillat, who came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant, will tell his story.   The speakers will address the importance of social justice in asylum work and draw conclusions on how to contend with bureaucracy in order to lessen some of the psychological pain of this life-changing process. The speakers are:

William Salton, a clinical professor at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. There, he is the director of the Max and Celia Parnes Psychology Training Clinic and the acting director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program. In 2015, he and Professor Emeritus Carl Auerbach created the Ferkauf asylum program, which trains students to conduct psychological evaluations for asylum seekers. The program was recently featured in the Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. Dr. Salton is also on the faculties of the Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and the New York Institute for Psychotherapy Training in Infancy, Children and Adolescents. He has private practices in New York City and Westchester.

Barbara Eisold, Ph.D, who has been working with immigrants and asylum seekers since 2002. Her publications include a book, Psychodynamic Perspectives on Asylum Seekers and the Asylum-Seeking Process (Routledge, 2019). She is adjunct faculty at NYU’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. She has a private psychotherapy practice in New York.

U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat, who represents New York’s Thirteenth Congressional District. Rep. Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx.

Judge James Loprest, who served as an assistant chief immigration judge for the New York area Immigration Courts from 2016 until 2018. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University in 1982, and a juris doctorate from Notre Dame Law School in 1989. Between college and law school, Judge Loprest served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army. From 1993 to 2010, he was senior immigration litigation counsel and special assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, and he was named Outstanding Public Sector Attorney by the New York County Lawyers Association for 2006-07. He is an active member of the New York City Bar Association’s Immigration and Nationality Law Committee.

Mary Beth Morrissey, Ph.D., JD, MPH, an associate professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work and director of the Ph.D. program. Dr. Morrissey is a social work researcher and attorney concentrating in aging, health and public health policy, and palliative and end-of-life care. She served as chair of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Emergency Task Force on Mandatory Vaccination and Safeguarding the Public’s Health in 2021 and is currently an officer in NYSBA’s Health Law Section. Dr. Morrissey is also an active member of the New York City Bar Association Immigration and Nationality Law Committee and the NASW New York City Chapter Immigration Committee. Dr. Morrissey continues to be involved in public policy dialogues across the professions about allocation of scarce resources and equitable access to health and mental health services and palliative care in crisis conditions.

Mauricio Noroña, a visiting clinical assistant professor of law in the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law, where he supervises clinic students on individual and impact litigation matters and drives large-scale immigration policy advocacy projects. Before joining the clinic, Mauricio was the supervising attorney at African Services Committee (ASC), where he led a team providing comprehensive legal services to immigrants and asylum seekers in New York City, coordinated response strategies to enforcement expansion during the Trump administration and helped develop an aggressive post-order practice. His academic research focuses on immigration enforcement.

To register, please visit: The Emotional Journey to Asylum ( General Admission (In Person and Online): $60 All Current Yeshiva University Students (In Person and Online): $10

For more information regarding the Ferkauf School of Psychology, visit

Media Contact: Liz Ammirato [email protected] 914-299-3882

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