Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs
Leon Rodriguez served under appointment for former President Obama as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") from 2014 to 2017. In that position, Leon directed the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy and other elements of President Obama's 2014 Executive Actions on Immigration Actions. Leon also oversaw USCIS' refugee processing during the period of large-scale admission from Syria, Iraq and Somalia. Currently, Leon is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP. He also serves on the board of HIAS, Inc., a refugee resettlement organization, and is chairs of its External Affairs Committee. In addition to his service at USCIS, Leon has served in various other government positions including as Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U,S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2011 to 2014. Leon graduated with a B.A. from Brown and a law degree from Boston College Law School.
As a senior fellow at the Watson Institute, Leon looks forward to conducting research on humanitarian components of national immigration systems and on the evolving concept of national borders.