Julie Kirchner

Former Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman and Former FAIR Executive Director Category: Trump Administration

Kirchner was among the first staffers of anti-immigrant groups to join the Trump Administration, and would go on to take up the powerful role of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman after spending almost a decade at FAIR. On October 28, 2019, Buzzfeed reported that Kirchner had resigned from her role as Ombudsman. As Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, Julie Kirchner reportedly worked against the mission of her office to assist individuals and employers in resolving problems with USCIS. In addition to high staff turnover, under her leadership the office reportedly faced backlogs in assisting individuals with casework, and failed to address systemic concerns raised by employees and outside stakeholders. The agency’s failure to adequately address the needs of legal immigrants in the U.S. is unsurprising, considering Kirchner moved into the Administration from FAIR – an organization dedicated to shrinking immigration as much as possible. In February 2019, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings sent Kirchner a letter requesting information pertaining to case backlogs as well as any communications she or her staff at the time may have had about FAIR or with FAIR employees.

  • Julie Kirchner joined FAIR as its government relations director in 2005. She was promoted to executive director in 2007, served in that role alongside President Dan Stein until August 2015, and joined the Trump campaign shortly afterwards. Other FAIR staff members she worked with included Robert Law, Elizabeth Jacobs, and John Zadrozny.
  • Kirchner worked briefly as a high-level advisor at CBP in early 2017 before taking up her position as Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman. She is one of a number of former FAIR staffers who moved into the Trump Administration. While commenting on FAIR’s newfound influence, Kirchner’s former boss Dan Stein, who once posed the idea of prioritizing reproduction based on intelligence, stated that he was “surprised they haven’t hired more people out of the stable of our organization.”
  • On January 30, 2020, Buzzfeed News reported that Kirchner was chosen to help set up the newly established Office of the Immigrantion Detention Ombudsman. Kirchner would reportedly be tasked with overseeing issues of misconduct in immigration detention centers, and fielding civil rights complaints.
  • During Kirchner’s tenure, FAIR worked to torpedo immigration reform efforts at every turn, advocate for harsh attrition through enforcement measures at the federal level and in states and localities, and regularly welcomed known racists to its annual events.
  • As Executive Director of FAIR, Kirchner oversaw their legislative efforts and served as one of the group’s primary lobbyists. According to federal lobbying disclosure paperwork and congressional testimony, she advocated to slash legal immigration levels and eliminate birthright citizenship.
  • In 2007 Congressional testimony Kirchner called for immigration cuts and fretted about human “sprawl.” Kirchner stated, “As we spread out, our sprawl consumes land, water, and habitats, all the while creating a rising outflow of environmental waste…As the rate of immigration grows without limit, so does development and the impact on our environment. America simply cannot sustain perpetual growth in finite places with limited resources. Our immigration policy must recognize this truth.”
  • During her short stint at CBP, Kirchner reportedly joined Miller, Bannon and Sessions to assist in the drafting of the RAISE Act, a bill co-authored by Tom Cotton, which, if enacted, would cut legal immigration by 50%.