About The Immigration Journal

The Immigration Journal is a project spearheaded by Julie Kirchner, an immigration specialist who has been researching and writing on criminal justice and immigration policy for 20 years. 

The mission of The Immigration Journal is to educate the public about immigration law, policy, and legislation by publishing news, research, and analysis that is informative and accessible.  By doing so, The Immigration Journal seeks to advance immigration policies that support the national interest, not special interests.      

About Julie Kirchner

Julie Kirchner is an immigration specialist with over 20 years of experience working in public policy, including immigration, public safety, criminal justice, and corrections.

Over the past four years, Ms. Kirchner served as an official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) working to improve the functioning of our immigration system.  Her first role was to serve as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), where she guided various border security efforts, including the implementation of tactical infrastructure at the southern border, the development of border security metrics, and the coordination of outreach initiatives to the public.

Between 2017 and 2019, Ms. Kirchner served as the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman.  As Ombudsman, she led an independent office within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to helping immigration benefit seekers and visa applicants resolve problems and navigate the immigration system as their applications and petitions were processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  During her tenure, the Ombudsman’s Office resolved over 20,000 complaints and issued reports on critical issues, such as the H-1B visa program, the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program, the background check process, USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security division, digitization of the immigration benefits process, and more.

In January 2020, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security appointed Ms. Kirchner to serve as Senior Advisor at the Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO), a new and independent agency within DHS created by Congress.  As Senior Advisor, Ms. Kirchner was the executive responsible for building a new agency from scratch by establishing the necessary administrative infrastructure, financial operations, information technology, and reporting functions, and leading the development and implementation of the Office’s core programs.

Prior to her service at the Department of Homeland Security, Ms. Kirchner spent a decade working on immigration policy at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  The majority of this time, Ms. Kirchner served as the organization’s Executive Director, guiding the nonprofit’s government relations, policy research, media engagement and grassroots activities.  She also managed the entire operations of the organization, including the multi-dollar budget, financial reporting, board relations, and human resources.

Ms. Kirchner earned her B.A. at Yale University, where she majored in political science.  She then returned to her home state of Iowa, where she earned her law degree, with high distinction, at the University of Iowa College of Law.  As a young lawyer, Ms. Kirchner worked as a private litigator, a criminal prosecutor, and as counsel at the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she staffed the Judiciary and Civil Law Committees.