Immigration Takes Center Stage at New Democracy Initiative Backed by Three Presidential Library Foundations

Community Conversations are Aimed at Bringing Americans Closer Together

HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, March 2, 2024 / / -- About two hundred people gathered in person and online for the launch of Civil Dialogues at the Baker Institute at Rice University on Tuesday, February 27th. In partnership with the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, the LBJ Foundation and the Clinton Presidential Center, the Civil Dialogues initiative seeks to create a safe space for community conversation on some of the important and most contentious topics of the day. Immigration took center stage at the inaugural event, the first in a series of town halls to be held throughout this election year at presidential libraries, policy institutes and other forums across the country.

Civil Dialogues was conceived by journalists Jean Becker, New York Times best-selling author and Chief of Staff to President George H.W. Bush during his post presidency, and Linda Lorelle, CEO & Executive Producer of Linda Lorelle Media, and former KPRC-TV news anchor. Both graduates of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Becker and Lorelle decided to use their skills, networks, and passion for our democracy to work toward bringing us together.

“Wow!! The Civil Dialogue that you orchestrated was beautiful,” wrote Neil Bush. “Jean's setup, Linda's professional moderating, the video, the venue, the actual panel discussion, everything about the dialogue had dad smiling from heaven.”

In her setup, Becker shared stories and photos of her former boss trying to bring world leaders together to talk through their disagreements and try to find a path forward.

A short film produced by Rational Middle Immigration provided historical context of America’s immigration system. Lorelle then guided panelists through a complex discussion addressing the topic, “Labor Shortages, Border Crisis & Immigration Reform”, bringing in audience members to ask questions and express their opinions.

Panelists included Tony Payan, Director, Center for U.S. and Mexico at Rice University; John Gable, Co-founder, AllSides; Stan Marek, President & CEO, Marek Family of Companies; Elizabeth Mendoza, Founder, Mendoza Immigration Law; and Raymond Robertson, Director, Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at Texas A&M.

Prominent audience members included Eduardo Aguirre, former Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and former U.S. Ambassador to Spain, and Charles Foster, renowned immigration attorney and former senior immigration policy advisor for President George W. Bush.

“I learned so much and can’t wait to forward the link to all who will benefit, learn a lot, dispel myths,” said Laura Pears who attended in person.

Becker and Lorelle have now turned their attention to the next Civil Dialogues town hall, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 19th at the LBJ Library in Austin, TX. The topic will once again be immigration.

For more information about Civil Dialogues, go to .

Linda Lorelle
Linda Lorelle Media
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Recording of Civil Dialogues town hall on immigration at the Baker Institute on February 27, 2024


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