Office of the Chief Counsel
AnnMarie Highsmith is the acting USCIS Chief Counsel.
What We Do
The Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC) was established in accordance with Section 451 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide specialized legal advice, opinions, determinations, regulations, and any other assistance to the USCIS Director as an embedded legal program of the DHS Office of the General Counsel.
The Office of the Chief Counsel consists of the following legal divisions:
- Adjudications Law Division (ALD)
- Refugee and Asylum Division (RALD)
- Commercial and Administrative Law Division (CALD)
- Regulatory and Verification Law Division (RVLD)
- Training and Knowledge Management Division (TKMD)
- Ethics Division
- Northeastern Law Division (NELD)
- Southeastern Law Division (SELD)
- Central Law Division (CLD)
- Western Law Division (WLD)
- Litigation and National Security Coordination Division (LNSCD)
- Affirmative Litigation Division (ALit)
With a highly skilled team of approximately 325 attorneys and support staff nationwide, OCC on a daily basis fields a wide range of inquiries concerning immigrant and nonimmigrant employment and family-based petitions, adjustment of status, adoptions, inadmissibility and waivers, naturalization, asylum and refugee status, contract and administrative matters, labor issues, and records and verification issues. OCC provides comprehensive litigation support to the Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation and the Offices of the United States Attorney. OCC’s areas of responsibility include providing legal education and training to USCIS staff, and advising USCIS and DHS staff on legislative, regulatory and national security issues.