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The Changing Landscape of US Immigration Law & Policy

6:00 PM
Webinar via Zoom

The Changing Landscape of US Immigration Law & Policy

6:00 PM
Webinar via Zoom

Recent numbers suggest that Greater Kansas City is home to more than 135,000 immigrants. Decades of change to U.S. immigration policy have impacted our communities in a myriad of ways.

Join American Public Square at Jewell for our third program in the Donnelly Series, presented in partnership with RISE and the KC Public Library, where we will review the history and present state of U.S. Immigration Law & Policy.

Our expert panel will address key topics including changes in asylum process and public benefit rules, U.S. border policy and the future of the DACA program. We will look at data about the role immigrants play in building communities, discuss the impacts of the changing legal landscape, and take a look at how KC residents are responding.


Manuel Abarca is Deputy District Director for U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s office. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and M.S. in Occupational Safety Management  from the University of Central Missouri, and is pursuing an EdD. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Mona Lyne is an Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her research focuses on political and economic development, particularly how distributive politics and clientelism drive economic development policy.

Jessica Piedra is an attorney with more than 15 years of experience in assisting immigrants in their legal journey. In 2008 she began working for Legal Aid of Western Missouri helping immigrants with their tax issues. Later, she returned to immigration law and then launched her own firm in April 2016.

Ken Oliver, is Senior Director of Engagement and Right on Immigration, at the center of the landmark Texas Public Policy Foundation initiative that highlights and champions policies that secure the border, restore the rule of law and fix and improve legal immigration to the United States.

In tackling this task, Ken is leveraging the full range of his previous experience as a successful coalition-builder in the conservative movement, public diplomacy professional and bilingual communicator. Prior to joining TPPF, Ken was founding director of MRC Latino, the Media Research Center project that challenged liberal dominance and rhetoric of U.S. Spanish-language media, particularly on immigration-related issues.

Most of Ken’s career has been divided between his native Washington, D.C. and his mother’s homeland of Puerto Rico. In Washington, during President George W. Bush’s administration, Ken served as Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as White House Director of Specialty Media. Ken is also a former program review analyst at the Voice of America and news editor at the NBC Radio Network.

In Puerto Rico, Ken served as Special Assistant to former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño, Assistant Secretary of State and Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Puerto Rico Economic Development Administration. He is also a distinguished, award-winning journalist having worked for Caribbean Business and the island’s leading daily newspaper, El Nuevo Día.


Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland
President of Donnelly College