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Seth Stodder

Assistant Secretary, Border, Immigration, and Trade Policy

Seth Stodder was appointed by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Border, Immigration & Trade Policy in March 2016.  Assistant Secretary Stodder leads a team advising Secretary Johnson and DHS leadership on border security and the facilitation of legitimate travelers and commerce across U.S. and international borders.  Leading the offices of Immigration Policy and Immigration Statistics, he also advises the Secretary and DHS leadership on all immigration matters, including immigration reform, visa policy, global asylum/refugee policy, immigration services, and immigration enforcement.  He also oversees DHS policy regarding trade, cargo and supply chain security, transportation security, as well as DHS national security reviews of foreign investments and FCC license applications through the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) and the “Team Telecom” review process.  In addition, Assistant Secretary Stodder oversees all DHS engagement with and policy issues regarding the countries of the Western Hemisphere, including bilateral and multilateral engagements with Canada, Mexico, and the countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Previously, Assistant Secretary Stodder served as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Threat Prevention and Security Policy.  Appointed by President Obama in June 2015, Assistant Secretary Stodder led a team advising Secretary Johnson and senior DHS leadership on a wide variety of issues relating to security threats to the U.S. homeland.  Among other things, Assistant Secretary Stodder oversaw DHS policy on the screening of people, including the Visa Waiver Program and the security vetting process for refugee applicants, as well as law enforcement policy, and the negotiation of international information sharing agreements bolstering counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation, with a particular focus on transatlantic cooperation in addressing the Syrian migration crisis.  Assistant Secretary Stodder also served as Co-Chair of the DHS Social Media Task Force.

A longtime expert in national and homeland security law and policy, Assistant Secretary Stodder also teaches Counterterrorism, Civil Liberties, and Privacy Law at the University of Southern California Law School.  Prior to his appointments at DHS, Assistant Secretary Stodder was a lawyer in private practice, focused on appellate and constitutional law.  He also served as a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and is a member of the Pacific Council for International Policy.

This is Assistant Secretary Stodder’s second tour of duty at DHS.  Earlier in his career, Assistant Secretary Stodder served in the Bush Administration as Director of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  In that role, he helped lead the development of U.S. border policy in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the creation of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the Container Security Initiative (CSI), and the National Targeting Center (NTC), among a variety of other initiatives focused not only on securing the borders of the United States, but also on facilitating the secure flow of lawful travel and trade.

Assistant Secretary Stodder is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court and California bars, has a J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School, and a B.A. from Haverford College.

Last Updated: 09/20/2018
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