Director of Migrant Rights and Justice, Women’s Refugee Commission
Michelle Brané is one of the nation’s foremost experts on U.S. immigration detention and reform. As the Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, Ms. Brané focuses on the critical protection needs of women and children asylum seekers in the United States. She authored the 2007 Women's Refugee Commission landmark report on family detention, Locking Up Family Values and the 2009 report on unaccompanied migrant children, Halfway Home, and is the senior editor of all the Detention and Asylum Program’s reports.
Ms. Brané has more than 25 years of experience working on immigration and human rights issues at the Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Bosnia. She has extensive experience in program management and advocacy.
In her current capacity, Ms. Brané has testified before Congress, and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, appears frequently in national and local print and broadcast outlets, and presents regularly as an expert at various conferences, briefings, and professional trainings, including presentations before the Human Rights Counsel and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva.
In 2012, she won the eleventh annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law, which was presented at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference (Listen to Michelle's speech or read the full text). In 2011, she was named as one of Women’s eNews’ “21 Leaders for the 21st Century.”
Ms. Brané holds a B.A from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from Georgetown University and is a member of the New York bar.