Leon Rodriguez

Now a partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Washington, D.C., Leon Rodriguez served as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) from 2014 to 2017. Leon led the implementation of the Obama administration’s core immigration priorities, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, policies to improve U.S. business access to high-skilled workers, and the growth of the U.S. Refugee Admissions program at a time of unprecedented world-wide displacement. As director, he oversaw the efforts of approximately 19,000 workers in 250 worldwide locations. Leon also oversaw the modernization of USCIS’s business, particularly the digital transformation of several of USCIS’ core business processes.

Believing that one of the pillars of the United States’ strength and success is the contributions of immigrant families from every country and from all walks of life, Leon is extremely proud of the 1,781, 009 new Americans who took the oath of citizenship while he was director, and of the immense efforts of his staff to screen refugees for admission to the U.S. during a time when 60 million people worldwide were displaced from their homes as the result of war, persecution or famine.

Immediately prior to serving as director of USCIS, Leon served from 2011 to 2014 as Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS-OCR), the agency responsible for the administration of the federal health information privacy laws, including HIPAA and HITECH, and the civil rights laws protecting beneficiaries of HHS funded programs. Among Leon’s core accomplishments as HHS-OCR director were: 1) the dramatic increase in HIPAA monetary enforcement activity, heralded as promoting greater compliance with health information privacy laws throughout health care industry; 2) issuance of updated HIPAA regulations as mandated under the HITECH Act; 3) successful completion of first HIPAA audit pilot; and 4) initiation of enforcement activity under Affordable Care Act anti-discrimination provisions.

From 2010 to 2011, Leon served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where his duties included leadership of the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, which enforces laws prohibiting discrimination in employment based on citizenship status and national original.

From 2007 to 2010, Leon was the County Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, where he led a staff of 47 lawyers in providing litigation, transactional and general counsel services to Montgomery County and related governmental clients. One of his top accomplishments was his successful role as the lead county negotiator in the acquisition and leasing of property for the Fillmore Theatre in downtown Silver Spring. The Fillmore Theatre agreement was a finalist for Washington Business Journal’s 2012 Deal of the Year (Community Impact category).

Leon was partner at Ober Kaler Grimes & Shriver from 2001 until his appointment as County Attorney, specializing in white collar criminal defense and health law. He served as a federal prosecutor in the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1997 to 2001, including postings as Chief of the White collar Crimes Section (1998 to 1999), and First Assistant U.S. Attorney (1999 to 2001).

Leon is active in community organizations including serving as a board member of HIAS, Inc., an international refugee serving organization, and Adventure Theatre Musical Theatre Center. Leon also served on the Committee on Admissions and Grievances of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2004 to 2010.

Leon is most proud, however, of his role as an active and present father and husband and has strived as a leader to make clear through his own example that commitment to family and professional contribution are not mutually exclusive.

Back to Newsletter>>>