CLS: Home: Immigration Past & Present

Reflect on the history of immigration in the United States and how policy and practices have changed over time.

Dr. Michael Stauch

Monday, July 31, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
“A Social & Political History of Immigration in the United States”

Since the end of the Civil War, immigration has played a foundational role in shaping the history of the U.S. Immigrants have transformed the urban landscape by constructing cathedrals, synagogues and mosques, waged important battles for equality under the law as workers and women, and shaped the political process nationally and locally.

Throughout this history, immigrants have contributed vitally to social and political struggles over the meaning and extent of citizenship, its privileges and its responsibilities. Far from an insular account of immigrants transformed by American ideals, the history of immigration in the U.S. demonstrates just how deeply global transformations have influenced the past, present and future of the U.S.

Michael Stauch teaches modern U.S. history at the University of Toledo. His first book, The Age of Community Policing, will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2024.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
“Climate Displacement: Challenges and Solutions”

Climate disasters displaced more people than conflicts in 2020. While not all who are displace by climate disasters require international relocation, many do—and find themselves facing extremely limited options for international mobility. Join Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), as she establishes ways the U.S. can transition toward a more sustainable future, what LIRS is doing behind the scenes to help, and ways you, too, can make a difference.

Wednesday, Aug. 2, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall
“Filling the Workforce Gap: The Transformative Power of Immigration”

Since the last few states lifted their COVID-19 stay at home orders in spring of 2021, there have been roughly twice as many job openings as there were unemployed persons in the United States. This problem will worsen with the nation seeing its lowest birth rates since the Census started tracking them and an aging population that is retiring at a clip. Fortunately, we have a population of people uniquely positioned to fill this gap. Join Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), as she explains how immigrants and refugees are an enormous pool of untapped potential, what LIRS is doing to promote economic empowerment and how you can get involved.

O’Mara Vignarajah is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She previously served in the Obama White House as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as Senior Advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry.

O’Mara Vignarajah has committed her career to public service because she knows how differently life could have turned out. She was 9-months old when she and her family escaped a country on the brink of civil war and built a life in Maryland. Her parents came to this country with no jobs and $200 in their pockets.

O’Mara Vignarajah is a graduate from Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County and then attended Yale College, where she earned a Master’s degree in Political Science and a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, where she received an M.Phil. in International Relations, before returning to Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal.

O’Mara Vignarajah’s interest in public service and grassroots politics began at an early age. In elementary school, She went knocking door to door with her mother in support of Senator Barbara Mikulski when she won her historic first race for the Senate. In college, Krish worked for another great public servant when she spent her summer back from college working for Senator Paul Sarbanes.

At the White House, she served as Policy Director for Michelle Obama and led the First Lady’s signature Let Girls Learn initiative. At the State Department, she coordinated development and implementation of multiple programs including those concerning refugees and migration, engagement with religious communities, the legal dimensions of U.S. foreign policy, and regional issues relating to Africa and the Middle East.  O’Mara Vignarajah worked closely with USAID, Health & Human Services and the Department of Defense.

Before joining the White House, Krish practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC, clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and taught at Georgetown University as an adjunct. She has been recognized as one of The Daily Record’s “Top 100 Women” and serves on the Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.

She and her husband, Collin O’Mara are the parents of a young daughter, Alana.

Eugenio Mollo, Jr.

“Immigration Law Overview and Current Topics in Immigration Law and Policy”
Thursday, Aug. 3, 10:30 a.m. | Orchestra Hall

This session provides an overview of different immigration statuses, including U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency, refugee/asylee, various visa categories and temporary statuses and undocumented status.

Participants will learn about the different eligibility requirements for these different statuses and what recent measures have been enacted by the executive branch, including DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Uniting for Ukraine and expanded Temporary Protected Status designations. It will cover family, employment and humanitarian-based immigration benefits and protections. Northern and southern border policy, and its impact on Ohio will also be discussed. The presenter aspires that this lecture will be valuable for participants who wish to engage in an informed debate on current issues involving immigration law and policy.

Eugenio Mollo, Jr. is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and the inaugural director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Toledo College of Law. He joined the College of Law in 2016 as an Adjunct Professor to teach Immigration Law courses. Mollo joined the full-time faculty in 2022.

In 2006, he began his legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE) in Toledo, a nonprofit law firm that represents low-income individuals and groups to achieve equal justice and opportunity.

From 2013-2022, he served as the managing attorney of the Agricultural Worker and Immigrant Rights practice group. He led and oversaw projects that provided legal assistance to migrant farmworkers, people in removal proceedings, unaccompanied children, refugee survivors of torture and other vulnerable immigrant populations. Mollo earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law.

The event is finished.


Jul 31, 2023 - Aug 04, 2023

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  • Timezone: America/Denver
  • Date: Jul 31, 2023 - Aug 04, 2023


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