Andres Kwon


Senior Policy Counsel and Organizer



Twitter handle

Andrés Dae Keun Kwon is Senior Policy Counsel and Organizer at the ACLU of Southern California. He joined the ACLU SoCal in 2016 and was previously Equal Justice Works Emerson Fellow.

Andrés has worked on the intersection of immigrants’ rights, policing, and criminal legal system reform. As recent immigrants from Argentina, Andrés and his family struggled to access effective, ethical lawyers to navigate a complex, punitive criminal-immigration legal system he has since worked to transform. After seven years as a community organizer in New York, Andrés went to law school so that, as an organizer and human rights lawyer, he could fight alongside individuals and families like his who struggle to access justice.

The first in his family to pursue higher education, Andrés is a 2016 graduate of the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, where he was the recipient of the Emil Joseph Stache Scholarship and served as Senior Editor of the UCLA Law Review. Andrés also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

During the summer of his first year of law school, Andrés was a legal intern at The Bronx Defenders, supporting public defenders and immigration experts who seamlessly integrated criminal-immigration representation. Since beginning his second year, through legal internships at the ACLU SoCal, Andrés led an effort to strengthen the representation of poor immigrants charged with crimes in Southern California. This work has brought about the expansion of immigration expertise within Southern California public defender offices, including the fivefold expansion of the Immigration Unit of the L.A. County Public Defender's Office.

Since 2019, Andrés has coordinated the Check the Sheriff coalition (CTS), which has become a powerful intersectional alliance among organizations in the immigrants’ rights, criminal legal system reform and abolition movements, labor unions, and individuals and families directly impacted by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). CTS’s Zero ICE Transfers campaign in 2020 ended warrantless Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) transfers in Los Angeles County—the nation’s largest county that was among the first to embrace the federal government’s deportation programs, at its peak transferring more people to ICE for deportation than any state except Texas. This policy has ensured families remain together and has saved lives: compared to about 1,500 individuals LASD transferred to ICE in 2018-19, there have been no ICE transfers since September 2020. In addition, CTS developed the first sheriff-related Los Angeles County charter amendment in 20 years, which became Measure A and passed in a landslide in 2022, establishing meaningful civilian checks and balances of the paramilitary office of the sheriff.

Andrés’s cases include Inland Empire – Immigrant Youth Collective v. Duke, which protected DACA recipients who had their DACA status unlawfully revoked by the Trump administration. The court certified a nationwide class and issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration from terminating class members’ DACA grants and work permits without notice, an explanation, and an opportunity to respond.  The court also reinstated the DACA grants and work permits of class members who had already had them unlawfully revoked. Andrés has also successfully represented noncitizen U.S. veterans, preventing their deportation during the Trump administration and ensuring the return of several deported veterans back home to the United States. 

Andrés’s publications include Defending Criminal(ized) "Aliens" After Padilla: Toward a More Holistic Public Immigration Defense in the Era of Crimmigration, 63 UCLA L. Rev. 1034 (2016), Defend L.A.: Transforming Public Defense in the Era of Mass Deportation, ACLU SoCal. (May 2018), and Measure A and sheriff accountability in LA County, Daily Journal (Oct. 31, 2022).