Guarding the Gates: Dedicated Alumni Find Their Calling
by Cullen Couch
Professor David Martin taught his first class at the Law School in 1980. Since then, a host of Law School alumni have taken every type of international law course offered by professors Martin, John Norton Moore, and the late Richard Lillich. Many now serve in leadership positions in the federal government and are charged with maintaining the security of the nation. They share more than just traditional school ties. They show a passion to serve their country and a commitment to the rule of law.
A Department as Big as its Responsibilities
The Department of Homeland Security is massive, and its mission poorly understood by the general public. Critics point to it as a prime example of big government inefficiency. It has few vocal supporters. Its successes mostly remain secret. Yet any failure, no matter how small, is front page news.
By the numbers, DHS (230,000 employees) is not the country’s largest federal agency. It is actually third, behind the Department of Defense (700,000) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (280,000). Nevertheless, DHS’s authority extends into far more areas of American public life than any other federal agency.
Established by Congress in November 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, DHS took over parts of nine other federal departments as diverse in responsibilities as Justice, Defense, Treasury, Transportation, and Agriculture. It swallowed some of these whole (FEMA), and sliced and diced others (INS from Justice into three separate agencies) to form 23 individual reporting centers all now answering to Secretary Janet Napolitano ’83, one of David Martin’s first students.
Her department’s mission? Guard the borders, patrol U.S. waters, secure the nation’s computer networks, keep drugs and WMDs off the streets, prevent pandemics, manage disaster relief, protect the President, and ensure these efforts don’t violate civil rights and civil liberties in the process. It’s a big job.
We have pulled back the curtain covering DHS by interviewing a sample of alumni and faculty who lead and perform the work. While their views are strictly their own and do not reflect the official positions of DHS or the Federal Government, they do give us a glimpse of the organization from the inside, away from the distractions of politics and partisanship. None of them goes into specifics, of course, but their professionalism, strategic clarity, and experience indicate the nation’s security is in very good hands.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
The son of a British mother and an American father, John Morton ’94, Assistant Secretary of ICE, grew up in this country with a personal understanding of its immigrant tradition. His mother holds a green card.
“She’s very proud of where she came from,” says Morton, “and I’m very proud that I have an immigrant background. I’m half British in blood terms, but I grew up as an American. I love being an American. It’s a country of innovation and a country that respects the rule of law.” At the same time, Morton respects other nations and their ways of doing things. “I don’t have to look any further than my mother to know that other countries can do things in their own way quite well.”
Soon after receiving his UVA undergraduate degree, Morton joined the Peace Corps to gain more international experience. He got that, and more.
“The Peace Corps instilled in me a sense of service,” he recalls. “I wanted to continue that when I went to the Law School. I took every course David Martin offered and some taught by Richard Lillich. They gave me a broad national security, immigration, and international perspective.” Further, Morton feels this is a special moment in time for the Department of Homeland Security because of the number of Law School graduates in important positions.
“Many of us first came to know each other through our experiences at the Law School,” he says. “Peter [Vincent] and I now have the great pleasure to be working with David Martin again and I find myself running a major law enforcement agency. My boss is Janet Napolitano. We’ve come a long way since those days at the University of Virginia but the seeds were all sown there.”
Morton is a “rule-oriented person,” which means a great deal in the application and execution of public law. “I think it’s is extremely important that our border laws be pursued in a compassionate, thoughtful, and balanced way, but good government is about balancing competing interests and trying to get to the right answer for the greater good. I enjoy trying to balance those interests in an environment where finding that right answer is the driving force.”
That makes ICE a very good fit for Morton. He has a strong interest and expertise in immigration enforcement, but an equally strong background in customs and national security. “It’s why this job is so fascinating. It is extremely broad.”
ICE’s jurisdiction encompasses a wide variety of high profile, transnational crime involving international child labor offenses, sex tourism, and pornography. ICE also investigates export control violations, weapons and technology espionage, drug smuggling, alien smuggling, money laundering, sex trafficking, human trafficking, arms trafficking, and counterfeiting.
On the national security front, ICE helps keep out of the country “bad actors” by screening visa applications in 12 of its 44 offices around the world. It is also the second largest contributor to the Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI.
All of these efforts are vital to national security and our trade relationships. “They’re not a hot button political issue,” says Morton. “People recognize their importance and we’re out there doing it every day out of the spotlight.” But immigration is a more charged issue.
“Both sides of the aisle hold deep and passionate views about immigration,” he says. “It’s an issue that we’ve struggled with as a country for decades, and we can’t quite get it right. Now we’re back to a general recognition that the system we have isn’t working well. It needs reform, but the devil is in the details. People disagree passionately what that reform is and how it should look. “
A reformer and innovator by nature, Morton needs those skills to help ICE fulfill its responsibility to the American people. “We have tremendous jurisdiction,” he says. “The truth of the matter is that we don’t have enough resources to do every single thing within our jurisdiction at the level we would like. We have to make wise decisions about how to use our resources and focus on priorities.
“Am I written every day by somebody who thinks I’m getting it wrong? You bet,” he says. “My view is there’s just no other way for good governance other than try to figure out the best policy; make the best judgments you can based on your expertise, common sense, good judgment, and the law; and then go forward. Will there be people upset with you? Absolutely. That’s the nature of this business. If you didn’t want to be part of something where you get criticism or a nasty editorial from time to time, you wouldn’t take this job.”
In immigration enforcement, ICE’s first priority is to identify and remove criminal offenders and other people who pose an immediate threat to homeland safety, such as gang members and fugitives. “We need to make sure that there’s basic integrity in our border controls, that our immigration processes are fair, and that we investigate and prosecute those who abuse them. We go after people who knowingly flout the law. If you become a fugitive, we’re going to spend time trying to find you and send you home. If we fail to do that, then the system has no integrity and badly undermines the American people’s confidence in the system. “
ICE’s overall strategy is to strengthen worksite enforcement while fostering a culture of compliance by U.S. employers. “If we’re going to make any sustained change and reform to the immigration system and the way it operates,” says Morton, “and if we want to make any real dent in unlawful immigration into this country, we’re going to have to do it through stronger oversight of worksite enforcement rules.”
Peter Vincent ’95, Morton’s principal legal advisor at ICE, has known Morton since they were students at Virginia. And like Morton, Vincent embraced international law from the moment he entered the Law School. “I took every course relating to international law and to public service. I took every course Richard Lillich offered. I took every course that John Norton Moore offered as well, so I’m very indebted to them, but primarily to David Martin. I seek his counsel on a daily basis.”
Vincent joined the Peace Corps after receiving his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley. He came away from the experience a changed man. In Vincent’s case, witnessing the horror of guerilla warfare in Guatemala at the time gave him a new focus: human rights prosecution.
“At that particular time, the Guatemalan government was, along with death squads, engaged in gross human rights violations,” says Vincent. “Over 200,000 individuals were ‘disappeared,’ meaning ‘killed,’ in Guatemala. Usually they were tortured first. Virtually everyone had family members who had been killed. That was something very, very traumatic for a recently graduated 22-year-old to hear.”
Vincent returned to the U.S. shortly after his Peace Corps stint and began study at the Law School. “It was the reputations of professors Martin, Moore and Lillich that convinced me to enter the University of Virginia School of Law,” he says. Upon graduation, he went immediately into private practice and became a successful trial attorney. “But once September 11th hit, he says “I realized that it was time for me to do what I’d always wanted to do, and that was to do public service work again.” Vincent joined the national security litigation team at Immigration and Naturalization Service the next year.
Then, in November 2006, Vincent was appointed to serve as the U.S. Department of Justice’s assistant judicial attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. In December 2008, he was promoted to judicial attaché. During his tenure at the U.S. Embassy, he coordinated nearly 500 extraditions, many of them “psychotic killers,” to the United States.
“I always say if it weren’t for the fact that people were literally trying to kill me every day, it would’ve been the best experience of my entire life,” Vincent recalls, a broad smile on his face.
Fluent in Spanish, prosecuting some of the worst human rights violators in the hemisphere, enjoying open access to the highest levels of the Colombian government, and having the full weight of the U.S. government behind him, Vincent thrived. Still, he lived a sobering reality. The narco-traffickers knew who he was from the moment he landed in Bogotá. He was watched at all times. His cell phone was tapped. With his life on the line, he could not go anywhere without his full-time bodyguards or heavily armored Chevy Suburban. He couldn’t trust anyone.
“It was funny,” Vincent says, laughing. “The regional security officer pulled me in and said, ‘Peter, you seem like a nice enough guy but I need to be very honest with you. You’re no Brad Pitt.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean.’ He said, ‘When that Colombian super model finds you fascinating in a bar, remember, you’re not fascinating, you’re not interesting, you’re not even particularly good looking. They’re trying to compromise you because they are on the payrolls of the major narco-trafficking and terrorist organizations.”
He had to be extremely cautious, but it was an electrifying experience, “one of the greatest challenges of my life, and truly fascinating. Every day I was inspired by the bravery and the courage of the Colombian prosecutors and judges.”
After more than two action-packed years in Colombia, Vincent’s career took another turn. He came back to the U.S. when the Obama administration appointed him to his current role in ICE.
Vincent has always been intrigued by immigration issues. His great-uncle was a well-known immigration attorney in San Francisco and Vincent grew up listening to his stories. “I was fascinated with different cultures and different people. And immigration law is so complex that I found it to be challenging and interesting at the same time.”
The Immigration and Nationality Act is a body of law as thick as the Internal Revenue Code. The act is the logical result of what happens when well-meaning congressional representatives add amendments over a period of nearly six decades without any holistic understanding of how the law as an organic matter works. For example, individual immigrants might at the same time be considered legal and illegal, depending upon the different categories that apply to them under the Act.
As a result, Vincent believes that “comprehensive immigration reform is necessary because the Nation would benefit from greater transparency and clarity in our immigration laws to allow businesses and individuals an opportunity to better their economic prosperity, which in turn, betters America's economic security.”
Not only is immigration law challenging, so too is the organization that Vincent leads. He manages the largest legal program in DHS, nearly 1,000 trial attorneys and 350 mission support staffers in 60 offices across the U.S. They litigate 350,000 removal proceedings each year before immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Vincent also advises ICE’s numerous enforcement components on issues ranging from customs law to Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues.
With such a large staff, Vincent relies on their deep expertise. “They are incredibly talented, very experienced,” he says. “They know more about their respective subject matter areas than I will ever know. I try to inspire them to tap into their own resources, their own talents, and to carry out the good work that they were doing far before my arrival.”
Asked about the public controversy and criticism directed at DHS and how that affects the career professionals there, Vincent shrugs it off. “We all have a great commitment to getting the job done and getting it done right. I had a wonderful experience in private practice, but I gain a greater sense of esprit de corps here in the government than I ever did in private practice.”
Office of the General Counsel
David Martin is the principal deputy general counsel of DHS, and a veteran of public service for the Department of State and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service. Much has changed in the agencies that administer and enforce the immigration laws since he first worked at INS. One difference is that INS has been carved into three entities under DHS: Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and ICE. The budget of CBP alone dwarfs that of the former INS.
Another key difference is 9/11. “The security component is much larger and much more serious,” says Martin. “A lot of the systems, databases and other tools are so much farther along than they were before. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t get a lot of attention publicly, but I knew enough about the stage of development when I was there in the mid 1990s to appreciate how far we’ve come.”
For example, today DHS uses database linkages in real time that simply didn’t exist in the ’90s. Consular officers use them to screen visa applications, and border inspectors make additional checks at entry. They take fingerprints at the airport immigration booth and can check them against a number of databases within 10 to 15 seconds. That system also checks identity, to ensure that the person presenting the visa is the same person screened at the consular office.
They call it “pushing the borders outwards,” says Martin, describing processes that allow the U.S. government to make well-informed decisions on admission before a person ever boards a plane. “We are much farther along in making the needed information available and getting better cooperation and coordination among government agencies.”
Martin’s portfolio concentrates on immigration and the issues surrounding Guantanamo, certainly among the thorniest he has ever tackled in government service. “Maybe I was overlooking some of the complexities in the issues the last time I was in government,” he says, “but there seem to be a lot more challenges. Eventually, after working with a good team of other lawyers and policy people, we find our way through. I think we’ve done a reasonably good job, but some of the issues we have today are really difficult to puzzle through.”
Martin cites comprehensive immigration reform as “a very highly charged, emotional issue. That’s one thing I really do notice in coming back, that the level of tension over the immigration issue is much greater than it was in the mid-’90s, and I thought it was fairly high at the time. The things we do in the immigration arena now require far more interagency cooperation and get much more high-level attention from the White House.”
One key element of immigration reform will involve enforcement improvements, including expanding a system that allows employers to verify work authorization for new employees against a computerized system onsite and in real time. To maximize the effectiveness of those changes, better enforcement for the future needs to be matched with a legalization program for the nation’s undocumented population, according to Martin. “They came here and established their ties in this country at a time when the system was just not working well at all.”
Overall, Martin believes that the country will find a solution to the immigration problem. “Some of the debate on immigration matters contains ugly rhetoric or xenophobic references,” says Martin, “but we’re a long way from what this country has experienced in the past. I think a much wider and quite solid constituency recognizes that immigration has been a great strength for our society. Rightfully, people want to bring it back under control and get us to where we can realize those benefits through lawful immigration rather than through a combination of lawful and undocumented immigration.”
Guantanamo is another highly polarized issue. Some people are focused on anger over the previous administration’s detainee policies, according to Martin, while others stir up unreasonable fears – for example over terrorist trials in federal courts – to block the President’s steps to close the detention facility. Establishing sound policy now is much harder than it would have been if there had been an effort back in 2002 to get legislation through Congress to establish a clear set of provisions for military commissions or for long-term detention under the laws of war [see UVA Lawyer, Spring 2005, pp. 32-47]. We needed a broad national discussion, he suggests, not a set of unilateral executive measures.
“Many of those things could have been adopted then with a sensible framework,” says Martin, including “protections for individuals to make sure we’re not holding people who were not combatants as part of the al-Qaeda or Taliban network.”
The Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene has also created procedural problems. The decision allowed habeas review to Guantanamo detainees, but the Court left it up to the district courts to create the procedures to do that. “They are faced with some very difficult questions,” says Martin. The government presents evidence of a person’s involvement with al Qaeda or the Taliban. “What standards govern evidence that, according to the detainee, may have been tainted by previous coercive behavior? Moreover, what is the role of hearsay? Different judges have reached different conclusions on this. It would’ve been helpful if the Supreme Court had laid out more of the ground rules for this kind of litigation.”
According to Martin, some of these cases are now reaching the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which may lead to clearer and more uniform ground rules about what evidence is admissible and what the standards are for reviewing classified evidence.
Aside from habeas litigation, other issues demanded attention. Martin represented DHS on an interagency review panel that considered transfer or prosecution or continued detention for the 240 detainees who were held at Guantanamo as of January 2009. “We faced hard questions about the exact disposition that would be right for these individuals – how to deal with them in the context of our ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and with al-Qaeda.”
When people ask Nader Baroukh ’99 what he does as Associate General Counsel for Immigration at DHS, he tells them “if it involves the movement of people across U.S. international borders, it’s in my portfolio.”
Baroukh has always been interested in public service. As a young Iranian immigrant, he felt privileged to have the opportunity to live in the United States. “I had a feeling at a young age that I wanted to give something back to the community. It’s an ingrained value for me. It’s what I know, what I feel comfortable with, and what speaks to my heart. I feel like I can make the greatest contribution towards that within the federal government.”
Baroukh also developed a keen interest in public policy and law working at the Department of Justice, Criminal Division prior to law school. Baroukh is also a 1994 Harry S. Truman Scholar. “I was always interested in the blending of law and policy, and I enjoy litigation. Immigration law gave me all of that, and being at the headquarters level gives me the opportunity to participate in all those spheres.”
Appointed as DHS’s associate general counsel for immigration in 2009, Baroukh works with the three immigration components of the department; Customs and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and ICE. He also works closely with the White House and the Justice, State, and Labor departments.
Baroukh entered federal service directly out of the Law School. He was there at the beginning when INS morphed into its three offspring under DHS. “A lot of issues then were how do you get pencils and paper and how do you get office space, that kind of thing. The Department was literally a start-up.”
But today there is organizational structure at DHS and an institutional drive for unity. “We oftentimes refer to DHS as a comprehensive whole,” says Baroukh. “That’s one of the functions of my particular office; merging together disparate views or disparate legal interpretations amongst the three immigration components into one legal voice.”
It doesn’t end there. “It’s even more challenging because on top of the three different agencies within the department, DOJ, State, and Labor also touch immigration.” But he hopes that together they can find a way to move beyond the type of immigration reform that has been tried previously. “It was enforcement only, it was benefits only, or it was piecemeal. I’m a firm believer that it has to be comprehensive, that all the aspects have to function better.”
Baroukh credits his Law School experience for helping to soothe the day-to-day frustration that can arise between agencies. Working with his fellow alumni is “fantastic,” he says. “There is a level of appreciation and camaraderie that comes with being a UVA alum. They are obviously smart, capable people, but beyond that they have a general trait that I think is unique to UVA Law. They get along well with other people and work on very difficult issues to come to a win-win situation for all the parties. And not just within the Department, but through the interagency process and with stakeholders outside of the federal government as well.”
There is another special quality to his present job that Baroukh particularly enjoys. “One of the folks who turned me on to immigration law has been a mentor, David Martin, and he is also my direct supervisor. I joke around once in a while that sometimes it’s like first year law school exams here every day. But David Martin is one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. Interacting with him on an intellectual level is a great privilege.”
Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security
ICE, immigration, customs and border control – these are just a few discrete slices of DHS. Each has enormous impact on day-to-day life in the U.S. But there are also the Secret Service and the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration and FEMA, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and Counternarcotics Enforcement, and over a dozen more.
Secretary Janet Napolitano stands atop all of this, harnessing the talents and efforts of the people in these different agencies so that they can pull together as one. Aside from the various disciplines involved, the department’s offices are also scattered around D.C., hindering the sense of institutional identity that Napolitano is trying to build (soon to be remedied by a new headquarters under construction).
Nevertheless, Napolitano believes that combining agencies into one department creates efficiencies. “I’ll give you an example,” she says. “A few months ago, there was a tsunami in American Samoa. We were able get U.S. Coast Guard cargo planes loaded with supplies that FEMA prepared, along with FEMA personnel. We had that great combination of Coast Guard and FEMA, and we didn’t need to do anything interagency or have any memorandum of understanding or anything like that. It’s just the way it works now.”
Martin agrees, using as an example the recent tragedy in Haiti. “It’s quite good to have within the same department the Coast Guard, the immigration agency functions, and disaster response through FEMA. It was good to be able to bring all those sorts of things to bear in responding to the Haitian earthquake. The Coast Guard and FEMA were very much involved in the on-the-ground response under the umbrella of the international authority of the State Department.”
Peter Vincent sees another benefit to such a large, integrated organization. “There continues to be tension between the respective agencies in their sometimes similar, sometimes different, missions,” he says. “But it’s a healthy tension. It challenges the agencies to work together in a way that the 9/11 Commission suggested. I think that healthy tension has actually made the country quite a bit safer.”
Going forward, Napolitano cites five key priorities for the department: counterterrorism, customs and customs enforcement, immigration enforcement, disaster preparation, and protection of cyberspace. The last item has taken on new urgency after alleged cyber-attacks by China on Google’s network.
“We have had a number of similar incidents to that over the last few months,” says Napolitano. “It ranges everywhere from people hacking for amusement all the way up to the possibility of the most serious type of cyberspace attack.”
Napolitano is widely respected throughout the department. “She understands law enforcement,” says John Morton. “She was a U.S. Attorney. She was a border governor. She ‘gets’ prosecution. She knows we’ve got to go after transnational crime. I couldn’t be happier working for her. She’s wonderful.”
“She is just a remarkable public servant,” adds Martin. “She’s a very effective executive and a good and decisive decision-maker, which you really need. She rallies her people; it’s been an absolute delight.”
And Baroukh says “she does her homework. She’s exceedingly bright and gifted, so you can have an easy conversation with her about complex legal matters. She’s got both the personal skills and the intellectual skills to be very, very good at what she does.”
Napolitano’s executive skills have served the public well. She became governor of Arizona in 2002 after a close election. Her leadership skills so impressed her constituents that they elected her in a landslide to a second term. She was selected by Time magazine in 2005 as one of America’s top five governors. She was President Obama’s first choice for Secretary of Homeland Security. In recognition of Napolitano’s extraordinary achievements, the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation recently awarded her the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Law, the highest external honor bestowed by the University.
Napolitano’s UVA ties run deep, and she enjoys being surrounded by her Law School colleagues. “I’m going to a lunch meeting about immigration with David Martin who in fact was my property professor at UVA,” she says with a laugh. “I go down the hall and there’s Alice Hill [’83] who is senior counselor in the Department and she was in my small section at UVA. I go down to the White House for a national security meeting and there’s Tom Donilon [’85] who was in a class behind me at UVA. You go meet with the vice president and there’s Cynthia Hogan [’84] who was a year behind me at UVA. John Morton is great and I think he took immigration law from David Martin. There are a lot of people who got their legal education at UVA who are now in the administration. It’s exciting.”
Hill agrees. “Little did I suspect when I first walked into Professor David Martin’s Real Property class in August 1980 that almost 30 years later my Professor would be my colleague and my classmate would be my boss,” she says. “Three decades later, I rely on the skills Professor Martin taught me and continues to teach me: careful and creative lawyering is timeless.
“And all these years later, the intellectual brilliance, infectious sense of humor and prodigious work ethic of my classmate, Secretary Janet Napolitano, inspires me on a daily basis. The Law School did me a huge favor in placing me in Section C—it’s been a life changing experience for which I am enormously grateful.
Reading sensitive briefing papers, enduring the political noise machine inside the beltway, and making critically important decisions requires focus and a strong team, says Napolitano. “I think the way to do this job is to surround yourself with good people.” She smiled, and added, “like people who went to UVA Law.”
Nader Baroukh ’99 is the Associate General Counsel for Immigration at the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the General Counsel. Prior to his current position, he served the Department in several key roles at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) including serving as Deputy Principal Legal Advisor for Litigation and the Deputy Chief of the National Security Law Division. Baroukh began his legal career through the Department of Justice’s Honors program where he served as an attorney with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Los Angeles District Counsel’s office. While at INS, Nader worked on a number of national security and complex fraud-related cases.
Baroukh was Manuscript Editor of the Law School’s Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law. He received his B.A. in Legal Studies and Psychology from Chapman University. He is a Harry S. Truman Scholar and was selected as a Coro Fellow. Prior to law school, Nader worked as a Policy Analyst in the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of Policy and Legislation. Nader is an avid cyclist and committed civic leader, currently severing as a Councilmember for the City of Falls Church in Virginia.
Before coming to DHS to serve as senior counselor to Secretary Napolitano, Alice Hill '83 was a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge and a former assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. She was appointed to the Municipal Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1995. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1983
Hill eventually became the first woman to head the U.S Attorney’s office’s major frauds unit, and spent four years prosecuting Charles Keating and others in the Lincoln Savings & Loan fraud. She also prosecuted drug-related and white collar crimes. Judge Hill became a supervising judge in the Municipal Court before being elevated to the Superior Court by court unification in 2000. She subsequently became supervising judge of the North Valley District in San Fernando.
Judge Hill has chaired the Superior Court’s Judicial Education Seminars Program since its inception, and is a former chair of the Continuing Judicial Studies Program of the Center for Judicial Education and Research.
David Martin has been an influential member of the Law School faculty for 30 years. Now on leave from his faculty responsibilities, he is principal deputy general counsel of DHS. He earlier served two years as special assistant to the assistant secretary for human rights and humanitarian affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 1978-80. In 1995, he served as general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), returning to the Law School in 1998.
In 1993 Martin undertook a consultancy for the U.S. Department of Justice that led to major reforms of the U.S. political asylum adjudication system. In 2003-04 he was asked by the Department of State to provide a comprehensive study of the U.S. overseas refugee admissions program, leading to recommendations for reform of that system.
John Morton ’94 is the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He leads the principal investigative component of the Department of Homeland Security and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government, with more than 19,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $5 billion.
Morton came to ICE with an extensive background in federal law enforcement and immigration law and policy. Morton, who began his federal service in 1994, has held a variety of positions within the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the deputy attorney general.
From 1999 to 2006, Morton prosecuted criminal cases as an assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, first in the Major Crimes Unit and later in the Terrorism and National Security Unit. From 2006 to mid-2009, Mr. Morton served in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, first as the acting chief of the Domestic Security Section and then as the acting deputy assistant attorney general.
Janet Napolitano ’83 is Secretary of Homeland Security. Prior to becoming Secretary, Napolitano was in her second term as Governor of Arizona and was recognized as a national leader on homeland security, border security and immigration. She was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association and was named one of the top five governors in the country by Time magazine. Napolitano was also the first female Attorney General of Arizona and served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Peter Vincent ’95 is the principal legal advisor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this position, he oversees the largest legal program in DHS.
In July 2002, Vincent joined the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and, later, ICE where he served on the National Security Litigation Team in the San Francisco Office of the Chief Counsel. As a trial attorney, he represented the government in immigration proceedings involving terrorists and individuals who had provided material support to Foreign Terrorist Organizations. In addition, Mr. Vincent advised the Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Francisco on issues relating to counterterrorism and foreign counter-intelligence.
In November 2006, Vincent was appointed to serve as the U.S. Department of Justice’s assistant judicial attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. In December 2008, he was promoted to judicial attaché. In those capacities, Vincent advised DOJ, the U.S. Department of State, and various law enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies on matters concerning extradition, terrorist organizations and narco-trafficking. During his tenure at the U.S. Embassy, he coordinated nearly 500 extraditions to the United States.
The Federal-employee contributors provided their comments in their personal capacities as alumni or faculty. Their views do not reflect the official positions of the Department of Homeland Security or the Federal Government.