As Executive Director, Ms. Kirchner manages all operations of the organization, including policy development and implementation, and reports directly to FAIR’s Board.
Ms. Kirchner has a proven record of success at FAIR, having worked for the organization between 2005 and 2015, first in government relations and then for eight years as Executive Director. During that time, she led FAIR through the fierce legislative battles of 2006, 2007, and 2013, beating back attempts by amnesty advocates to dismantle our immigration system and decimate the rule of law. She knows and understands FAIR well, and offers FAIR (and the movement it helped create) a sophisticated knowledge of immigration law and policy combined with management experience and leadership ability.
Ms. Kirchner also brings to FAIR a wealth of knowledge obtained through years of hands-on work in our nation’s immigration agencies. After her initial tenure at FAIR, Ms. Kirchner served four years as an official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where she fought to improve our immigration system. Her first role was 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, development of border security metrics, and coordination of outreach initiatives to the public.
Between 2017 and 2019, Ms. Kirchner served as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ombudsman. As Ombudsman, she led an independent office within DHS headquarters dedicated to helping immigration benefits seekers and visa applicants navigate USCIS procedures and resolve problems.
In January 2020, Ms. Kirchner was appointed 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 developing the Office’s core programs.
Ms. Kirchner earned her B.A. at Yale University and 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.