Alumni (National Fellow)

Kelly Richter

National Fellow
Ph.D. Stanford University (2014)
J.D. Georgetown University Law Center (2018)
Professional Sector:
Dream Mentor:
Meg Jacobs
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fields of Interest:
American Political Development
Immigration Policy
Region: Latin America


Kelly Richter is U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ Legislative Counsel for Immigration and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2018 and her Ph.D. in history from Stanford University in 2015, with a specialization in modern U.S. political and policy history, immigration, social policy, and race and ethnicity.

Thesis Description:

Uneasy Border State: The Politics and Public Policy of Latino Illegal Immigration in Metropolitan California
Her dissertation, “Uneasy Border State: The Politics and Public Policy of Latino Illegal Immigration in Metropolitan California,” was the first academic work to comprehensively examine this topic through a focus on late-twentieth-century California, the state with the largest Latino undocumented immigrant population. Drawing on dozens of largely untapped archival collections of local, state, and federal officials, agencies, and legislative bodies, and advocates, as well as published government, legal, and media sources, her dissertation analyzed evolving debates over labor market impacts, social and fiscal policy, federal immigration policy implementation, local and state immigration policy, and immigration law enforcement. Richter’s project broke new ground for interdisciplinary understanding of modern American debates over immigration federalism and comprehensive immigration policy reform.

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