Professor Kathleen Kim

With Immigrant Advocacy, Prof. Kim's Scholarship Speaks Volumes

Professor Kathleen Kim realized her passion for immigrant advocacy as the child of first-generation immigrants from South Korea. She desired to put this passion into action while working with migrant workers as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan.

“They would come there every season from Mexico,” Kim said, noting that she saw “what appeared to be pretty horrendous working conditions.”

Without any formal legal training, Kim let her conscience guide her all the way to Stanford.  “I made a decision to go to law school,” she said, “specifically for the purpose of engaging in public interest work and representing immigrant workers’ rights.”

While Kim credits the hands-on advocacy work she did throughout law school and at civil rights organizations for sustaining her enthusiasm, she later realized she could have a broader impact in academia.

“I thought that through legal scholarship that had real-world impact I could enact more social change,” Kim said. “During my civil rights practice, I experienced limitations that I thought I could more effectively address through legal scholarship.”

It turns out she was right. “One of my articles that analyzes the role of the trafficked plaintiff in enforcing civil rights violations was cited by a federal court that broadly interpreted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” Kim said. “Some of the propositions I made in my scholarship have actually now become law.”

Kim also co-authored AB 22, California’s first anti-human trafficking law.

On campus, Kim has been a visionary leader in creating core immigrants’ rights training programs. She launched the Immigrant Justice Practicum and serves as the advisor to the Immigrant Advocacy Concentration. She also supervises the recent alumnae running Home Base, Loyola’s first community-based immigration clinic.

Recent Scholarship