Kathleen Kim exposes abuses that can occur when immigrants have no path to citizenship. She co-authored the California Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2005 and is an advisory board member of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.
Kim grew up in a family that emigrated from post-war South Korea, wanting the freedom the U.S. offered. “I was raised with the awareness that being born here was luck,” she says.
Immigrants’ rights are her focus in teaching, research, writing, and advocacy. In 2013 Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Kim to the Los Angeles Police Commission, through which she can serve as an immigrant’s voice in police affairs.
Kim is the driving force behind Loyola Law School’s immigration law offerings and the faculty supervisor of the Immigrant Justice Clinic, the only community-based immigration law clinic in Los Angeles. “My colleagues and students care deeply about the real-world impact of their work,” she says. “Students reflect the mission with so much humility.”
Kim recognizes the struggles that so many of her immigrant neighbors face “when they have no status, no permanence,” and at the clinic, she says, “we protect people from deportation each day.”