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Jeanne Smoot

As Senior Counsel for Policy and Strategy, Jeanne is principally focused on leading the development of legal and policy proposals to address forced marriage in the United States. Prior to moving into to her role as senior counsel, Jeanne led Tahirih’s public policy team for over a decade, fighting to reduce vulnerabilities of immigrant women and girls and to empower them as survivors.

Among other achievements, Jeanne helped draft and secure enactment of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) to prevent the abuse and exploitation of so-called “mail-order brides,” helped galvanize recognition of forced marriage as a domestic human rights problem in the United States with a groundbreaking national survey and the launch of a new Tahirih initiative, helped draft legislation to fix aspects of the broken asylum system that harm women and girls fleeing gender-based persecution and co-wrote a report to bring attention to the steep path that women face to receive asylum protection in the United States.

Jeanne also helped lead successful efforts to defend and expand protections for immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and in the passage of a Senate bill to reform immigration laws.

“I am inspired by how extraordinary the women and girls we serve are, who rise above and move beyond a relationship, family, or community that has hindered and hurt them, seeking instead the love and respect that—despite all they’ve been told and shown to the contrary—they somehow know in their hearts that they deserve.”


Jeanne is a graduate of Harvard University Law School and Harvard-Radcliffe College. She obtained her master’s degree from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. From 2011 to 2012, she served as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School.

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