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Immigration and the American Dream

Angela Kelley

Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy
Center for American Progress

Angela M. Kelley, a well-known authority on the policy and the politics of immigration, joined American Progress in 2009 as Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy. 

As Vice President, Angela applies her 20 years of experience in the immigration field to the Center’s stepped-up immigration initiative, overseeing and coordinating the Center’s work in this area.

Throughout her career, Angela has been at the forefront of policy debates regarding changes in immigration policy and the historic creation of the Department of Homeland Security following the 911 terrorist attacks.

Angela’s sharp and credible political analyses make her a frequent speaker before other policy groups, and she is often asked by news organizations to comment on policy and political developments related to immigration. She is regularly quoted by all of the major national and regional news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico, and also has appeared on national television and radio networks including PBS, MSNBC, Fox, and National Public Radio. 

Before joining the Center in 2009, Angela served as director of the Immigration Policy Center—the research arm of the American Immigration Law Foundation—which provides policymakers, academics, the media, and the general public with access to accurate information about the effects of immigration on the U.S. economy and society. 

Prior to that, Angela was deputy director at the National Immigration Forum, where she headed its legislative, policy, and communications activities and oversaw its operations. During her service at the forum, Angela was a front-line negotiator as Congress debated in 2006 and 2007 proposed comprehensive immigration reform legislation. 

Other major legislative work by Angela included the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act of 2000 which, among other things, extended the period during which undocumented workers and family members could be sponsored for permanent residence. The LIFE Act also expanded eligibility for permanent residence to some individuals who had been denied benefits under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act and the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act. Angela was previously part of the successful NACARA and HRIFA campaigns to secure immigration benefits for certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Haitians. 

Angela began her career as a staff attorney for Ayuda, a local services agency in Washington, D.C. representing low-income immigrants on immigration and family matters. 

She is a graduate of George Washington University Law Center and was a fellow with Georgetown University's Women's Law and Public Policy Program. 

The daughter of Bolivian and Colombian immigrant parents, Angela is the mother of two young girls.

Alan M. Kraut

Professor of History
American University College of Arts & Sciences

Alan M. Kraut is University Professor and Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Kraut is a specialist in U.S. immigration and ethnic history, the history of medicine in the United States, and nineteenth century U.S. social history. He is the author or editor of eight books and many articles. His books include, The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921 (1982; rev. 2001), American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945 (co-authored), and Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (1994). The latter volume won the Theodore Saloutos Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. His 2003 volume, Goldberger’s War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader has been honored with the Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government, the Arthur J. Viseltear Prize from the American Public Health Association, and the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize from the History of Science Society.  Kraut’s scholarly projects have been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Institutes of Health.  In 2009 he co-directed a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the Library of Congress, “American Immigration Revisited,” sponsored by the National History Center. He is the chair of the History Advisory Committee of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and a former president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.  He is a non-resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute and a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He is currently Vice-President elect of the Organization of American Historians.

Sarah Paoletti

Practice Associate Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Sarah Paoletti is a Practice Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she founded and directs the Transnational Legal Clinic.  From 2003-2006, she was a Practitioner-in-Residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the Washington College of Law American University, where she also taught a seminar on the labor and employment rights of immigrant workers. Her areas of expertise include international human rights, immigrant and migrant rights, asylum law, and labor and employment law.  She has written on and presented on the intersection of migration and international human rights, particularly as it relates to the labor rights of migrants in the U.S., before Committees of the United Nations, the Organization of American States and at different conferences.  For the past year, she has served as Senior Coordinator for the US Human Rights Network’s US Universal Periodic Review Process.  She was a staff attorney at Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., a statewide legal services program serving migrant workers in Pennsylvania, where she was an Independence Foundation Public Interest Fellow, as well as a Skadden Fellow (1998-1999, 2000-2003), and currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors for that Organization.  She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (Center for Workers Rights, based in Zacatecas, MX).  From 1999 to 2000, she was a law clerk for the Hon. Judge Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit.  She received her JD from the Washington College of Law American University (summa cum laude) in 1998, and her B.A. from Yale University in 1992.

Jayesh Rathod


Assistant Professor of Law
Director, Immigrant Justice Clinic
American University Washington College of Law

Jayesh Rathod is an Assistant Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law.  His areas of expertise and scholarly interests include immigrants’ rights, labor and employment, occupational safety and health, and the intersection of law and organizing.  Prior to joining the faculty, he was a Staff Attorney at CASA of Maryland, representing low-wage immigrant workers on employment law and immigration matters, and participating in worker education, organizing, and advocacy efforts. He also practiced in the litigation section at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering LLP, and was law clerk to the Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Over the course of his career, he has worked with numerous non-governmental organizations to advance the civil and human rights of communities in the United States and abroad.