Campus News

Martin School Examines Immigration Policy With Former Congressman Mazzoli Delivering Ford Lecture on April 11

Ron Mazzoli at UK in 1972
Congressman Ron Mazzoli, second from left, at UK in 1972, with UK faculty member and debate coach J.W. Patterson, flanked by two students. Photo courtesy of UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2018) — Immigration policy is very much in the national spotlight these days as the House, the Senate and the Trump administration try to find common ground on key issues such as border security and permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Mazzoli, a democrat from Louisville, co-author of the last major immigration-reform law, will deliver the Spring 2018 Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Lecture this Wednesday, April 11, at the University of Kentucky.

Mazzoli, who represented Kentucky’s Third Congressional District from 1971 through 1994, joined with now retired republican Sen. Alan Simpson, of Wyoming, to develop and pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. More than five years in the making, the legislation established fines and jail terms for employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants and granted amnesty to undocumented aliens who could prove they had lived continuously in the United States for four years.

Mazzoli will give a retrospective of the Simpson-Mazzoli Act and events that have transpired in the 32 years since its passage. His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by former U.S. Chief District Court Judge Jennifer Coffman. Panelists will include Dave Adkisson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

“At a time when Americans are looking to Washington to leadership on immigration issues, Kentuckians can be proud that one of their members of Congress showed historic leadership on this issue, writing a law that remains in effect today,” said Ron Zimmer, professor and director of UK’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, which is sponsoring the event. “Ron Mazzoli has always been frank and plain-spoken, and his discussion of these issues in their current context offers a great opportunity for enlightenment of students, faculty, staff and the public at large.”

Mazzoli is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Louisville Law School. He was a state senator before being elected to Congress in 1970. After retiring from the House, he earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 2004.

The event begins at 3 p.m., April 11, in the UK Athletics Auditorium of the William T. Young Library. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.