Angela Kelley




Senior advisor, American Immigration Lawyers Association

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Angela Kelley is an American left-progressive legal activist and policy analyst. She works as a senior advisor to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an organization of approximately 15,000 activist lawyers supporting increased immigration to the United States, arguing that increased immigration will help the economy. Kelley has been involved with left-progressive immigration policy advocacy since the 1990s: she has worked for numerous pro-immigration activist organizations and spent several years at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the global grantmaking institution funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Kelley also worked as an immigration advisor to the White House Domestic Policy Council in the Obama administration. 1

Early Career

Angela Kelley received her law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She started her career as an immigration lawyer in 1988 with left-progressive legal aid organization Ayuda. Two years later, she became the deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, an activist group that advocates for granting legal status to the vast majority of illegal immigrants residing in the United States and opposes efforts to prevent illegal border crossings. Kelley spent more than fifteen years with the Forum before becoming the director of the American Immigration Council, another organization pushing for legalization of illegal immigrants, in 2007. 2

CAP and Obama Administration

In 2009, Kelley joined the Center for American Progress (CAP), a leading left-of-center think tank, as vice president for immigration policy. She oversaw pro-immigration advocacy initiatives, most notably a pressure campaign that led to President Barack Obama (D) implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012 that suspended deportations of illegal immigrants who were allegedly brought to the United States as children. Kelley has also taken credit for leading the CAP campaigns that resulted in the House of Representatives and Senate passing separate — and ultimately unsuccessful — immigration legislation. 3

In 2014, Obama appointed Kelley to the White House Domestic Policy Council as an immigration advisor and consultant. She spent just three months in the administration before returning to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, lobbying and campaigning sister organization of CAP. Kelley remained at CAP Action until the end of President Obama’s second term in office. 4

In April 2020, Kelley left OSF and became a senior policy advisor to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, where she currently works on increasing the organization’s public presence and interaction with elected officials. In January 2021, the Biden administration appointed her to an immigration advisory position at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 5 6

In April 2021, immigration restriction advocate and former Trump administration official Jon Feere criticized Kelley and other Biden appointees for their immigration policies. He accused them of having “calculated that undermining America’s sovereignty is more important than promoting public safety or national security.” In an open letter published by the Washington Times, Feere, who served as chief of staff at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Trump, warned ICE personnel that Kelley and other DHS leadership were implementing policies that “will endanger the lives of countless people.” According to him, these included canceling an effort to arrest and deport illegal immigrant sex offenders, as well as directing ICE to release illegal immigrant criminals back into the communities they victimized. 7


  1. “Angela Kelley.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2021.
  2. “Angela Kelley.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2021.
  3. “Angela Kelley.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2021.
  4. “Angela Kelley.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2021.
  5. “Angela Kelley.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2021.
  6. Priscilla Alvarez. Twitter. January 26, 2021. Accessed October 17, 2021.
  7. Jon Feere. “An open letter to Biden appointees at ICE: Don’t be the fall guy.” Washington Times. April 23, 2021. Accessed October 17, 2021.
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