Rich André ’09 is the senior policy advisor for State and Local Initiatives at the American Immigration Council. In this role, he advises state government officials on their immigration policies, including COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, Afghan refugee resettlement, and federal advocacy.
Rich earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from Amherst College and a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Princeton University. As a proud son of Haitian immigrants, Rich takes his work on immigration policy very personally. He hopes he can advocate for more welcoming, humane, and sensible policies for immigrants and other marginalized groups throughout his career.
Rich previously served as deputy director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy. Before that, Rich managed the NYCitizenship program at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, where he launched Cities for Action, a national coalition of more than 150 mayors advocating for sensible immigration reform.
Q: Was there an “aha” or “eureka” moment at Amherst after which you knew the career to pursue?
A: Having graduated in the middle of the Great Recession (May 2009), it took me almost a year to find a full-time job that both aligned with my values and paid the bills. I struggled with self-doubt during that time, and ended up relying on my community of family and friends (including many Amherst classmates) for support and encouragement while I searched for the right opportunity. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that support system.