Michele Garnett McKenzie, Deputy Director, Director of Advocacy


Michele Garnett McKenzie serves on the senior leadership team at The Advocates for Human Rights. She also leads the organization's research, education, and advocacy team and is responsible for advocacy on The Advocates' domestic priority issues, including migration and human trafficking. She joined the staff of The Advocates in 1999 as an attorney representing asylum seekers and detained immigrants. She later managed the asylum, detention, and walk-in clinic projects in addition to policy advocacy relating to immigration. 


Michele serves on the national leadership team of the Immigration Advocates Network and on the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault public policy committee. A member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, she is admitted to practice in the State of Minnesota. She has served as an adjunct clinical faculty member of William Mitchell College of Law and the University of Minnesota Law School.


Prior to joining The Advocates, Michele was in private immigration practice, and served as a judicial law clerk for the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Arizona and Nevada. She received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and her B.A. cum laude from Macalester College.



Asking the Right Questions: A Human Rights Approach to Ending Trafficking and Exploitation in the Workplace. Minneapolis, MN: The Advocates for Human Rights, 2016.


Moving from Exclusion to Belonging: Immigrant Rights in Minnesota Today. Minneapolis, MN: The Advocates for Human Rights, 2014.


Safe Harbor: Fulfilling Minnesota's Promise to Protect Sexually Exploited Youth. Minneapolis, MN: The Advocates for Human Rights, 2013.


“State and Local Enforcement of Immigration Law and Community Responses to Find a Better Way.” Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook. 2009-2010: 1115-1130. Written by Joan Friedland, Michele Garnett McKenzie, and Lisa Johnson-Firth 


Human Rights in Ethiopia: Through the Eyes of the Oromo Diaspora. Minneapolis, MN: The Advocates for Human Rights, 2009. 


A House with Two Rooms: Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia Diaspora Project. St. Paul, MN: DRI Press, 2009. 


Legal Services Chapter, in Healing the Hurt: A Guide for Developing Services for Torture Survivors. Minneapolis, MN: The Center for Victims of Torture, 2005.


“Challenges Facing Asylum Seekers and the Need for Pro Bono Representation” With Equal Right (Winter 2005).