LAC Luncheon: Migration: What Can be Done to Curb the Flow and How the US can Engage More Effectively?
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern
Event Registration
Event Type(s)
Discussion Group
Speaker Program
Event Description
All those interested in Latin America and the Caribbean are welcome to attend LAC Luncheons. Discussions are organized around theme, country, region or on a selected speaker’s interests and occur monthly. The DACOR cash bar opens at 12 noon and the group moves to a reserved room at 12:30 pm. The luncheon served with the event costs $35. Registrations are required for all participants. 

February's topic is "Migration: What Can be Done to Curb the Flow and How the US can Engage More Effectively." Ambassador Hugo Rodriguez, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau for Consular Affairs; Margaret Enis Spears, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean; Andrew Selee, President of the Migration Policy Institute; and Adam Hunter, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Border and Immmigration, Department of Homeland Security; will lead the discussion.

Hugo F. Rodriguez, Jr. joined the Bureau of Consular Affairs as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary on February 13, 2023.  Ambassador Rodriguez previously served in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mexico, Central America, and Migration from April 2019 to January 2021 and as Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary until December 2021.  He was nominated by President Biden as Ambassador to the Republic of Nicaragua and confirmed in September 2022.  His previous assignments include Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affairs in Asuncion, Paraguay; Consul General in Mexico City, Mexico; and tours of duty in Lima, Peru; Rome, Italy; the Overseas Citizens Service Directorate in Consular Affairs, and two tours in the State Department Operations Center.  Ambassador Rodriguez is a career Senior Foreign Service officer and joined the State Department in 2000. 

Margaret Spears is Deputy Assistant Administrator in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), leading efforts to tackle the root causes of migration, integrate migrants into host communities, and facilitate expanded access to lawful migration pathways.

As a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ms. Spears has held various leadership positions throughout USAID. Prior to assuming her current position in August 2023, she was Deputy Mission Director and Acting Mission Director in Amman, Jordan from 2019-2023. She served as the USAID/Mexico Deputy Mission Director in Mexico City from 2015-2019, leading interagency collaboration on public-private partnerships, justice reform, anti-corruption, and citizen security in strategic areas near the U.S.-Mexico border. From 2010-2015, in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, which leads the U.S. Government’s interagency efforts in agriculture and nutrition, she oversaw the strategic direction and implementation of programs in the field and built partnerships with the private sector. In Colombia, from 2007-2010, she oversaw the whole-of-government alternative development program that yielded significant gains in controlling ungoverned territories and promoting economic growth and agricultural reconstruction. In Bolivia, from 2002-2007, Ms. Spears oversaw efforts to promote agriculture, access to financial services, and economic opportunities for marginalized indigenous populations.

Before joining USAID in 2002, Ms. Spears worked at the U.S. Department of State on trade policy and programs. She served on U.S. government negotiating teams for international trade agreements, including bilateral accords with Jordan, Colombia, Central America and the Dominican Republic, Chile, and multilateral efforts in the World Trade Organization. Previous positions include work in finance and microenterprise at the World Bank, Catholic Relief Services, and as a Senior Research Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Ms. Spears earned a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, concentrating on international business and development. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College, focusing on economics, international development, and languages. She speaks fluent Spanish and basic French and Arabic.

Andrew Selee is President of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a global nonpartisan institution that seeks to improve immigration and integration policies through fact-based research, opportunities for learning and dialogue, and the development of new ideas to address complex policy questions, a position he assumed in 2017. He also chairs MPI Europe's Administrative Council.

Dr. Selee’s research focuses on migration globally, with a special emphasis on immigration policies in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together (PublicAffairs, 2018) and What Should Think Tanks Do? A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact (Stanford University Press, 2013).

He has published opinion articles in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Americas Quarterly, and he contributes a regular column to Mexico’s largest newspaper, El Universal. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, teaching courses on global migration, and has previously taught at Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities and been a visiting scholar at El Colegio de México.

Dr. Selee was a Co-Director of the Regional Migration Study Group, convened by MPI with the Wilson Center, and part of the steering committee for MPI’s Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of the USA, the nation’s largest membership organization.

Prior to joining MPI, he spent 17 years at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he founded the Center’s Mexico Institute and later served as the Center’s Vice President for Programs and Executive Vice President. He has also worked as staff in the U.S. Congress and on programs with migrant youth in Tijuana, Mexico.

He holds a PhD in policy studies from the University of Maryland; an MA in Latin American studies from the University of California, San Diego; a BA, Phi Beta Kappa, from Washington University in St. Louis; and a certificate in strategic perspectives on nonprofit management from Harvard Business School. He was selected as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow for the 2017-18 period.

Adam Hunter is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration, at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and was appointed on Jan. 20, 2021. Mr. Hunter has more than fifteen years’ experience on migration, national security, and international affairs issues. Before assuming his role at DHS, he was the Executive Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), an organization working to protect and welcome refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcibly displaced populations. Prior roles included Director of a Pew Charitable Trusts’ research project exploring immigration through the lens of federalism, and Consultant to several foundations and non-profit organizations. During a previous tenure in government, Mr. Hunter served as Acting Chief of Staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of DHS, and held other agency leadership and program management roles. Earlier in his career, he worked with policymakers in Europe and at Washington think tanks, including the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Mr. Hunter holds a BA from Vanderbilt University, MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and D&I certificate from Cornell University.
Setting: In-Person
DACOR Bacon House
1801 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

click here for Google Maps
Contact Person
DACOR Programs
(phone: 202-682-0500 x20)
  • $35/person includes 2 course meal, bread/biscuit, and cup of coffee/tea
  • Wine may be purchased at the bar or at the table
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Event Documents/Images

Hugo Rodriguez
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Consular Affairs, US Department of State

Margaret Enis Spears
Deputy Assistant Administrator, Latin America and the Caribbean, USAID

Andrew Selee
President, Migration Policy Institute

Adam Hunter
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Border and Immigration, Department of Homeland Security

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