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Carl C. Risch

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Carl C. Risch

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Carl C. Risch is the managing partner of the firm’s Washington DC office. With unparalleled experience as a career immigration adjudicator, senior executive, and policymaker at three different departments over two decades, he brings a unique insight into the inner workings of the immigration system. His practice focuses on developing strategies to resolve his client’s complex U.S. immigration problems, with special emphasis on visa processing overseas, employment-based immigration, family-based immigration, naturalization, entrepreneurs, and student visa issues. In addition to advising large corporations, Mr. Risch has represented former heads of state, democracy activists, refugees, corporate executives, business leaders, investors, athletes, and entertainers.

As the former Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs from 2017 to 2020, he managed the worldwide visa and passport function for the U.S. government, domestically and at its embassies abroad. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is the public face of the Department of State for millions of people around the world, and Mr. Risch led the bureau during the worldwide repatriation of American citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Assistant Secretary, he led bilateral talks on consular issues with dozens of countries, focusing on the safety and security of Americans abroad and US visa policy, especially US employment and student/exchange visitor visas. Notably, he played a key role in the release of numerous American prisoners overseas, including personally traveling to North Korea in 2018 to help facilitate the release of three hostages. Finally, as Assistant Secretary, he was responsible for managing the State Department’s 4-tiered travel advisory system, administering the US intercountry adoption system for orphans, and was a lead official for the US government on international parental child abduction.

Mr. Risch reentered private practice as a partner at a global law firm in 2021 from the US Department of Justice, where he served as Deputy Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the nation's immigration court system. As Deputy Director, he oversaw the Board of Immigration Appeals, Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, and Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer. Mr. Risch led EOIR’s efforts to comply with President Biden’s Executive Orders on the immigration system, including conducting a full regulatory and policy review.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Risch worked for over a decade at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), most recently serving in 2017 as the acting Chief of Staff for the agency. At USCIS, he gained hands-on adjudicatory experience in all aspects of the U.S. immigration system, including employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions, family-based immigration, asylum and refugee law, and naturalization. He worked at the Administrative Appeals Office, focusing primarily on multinational transferee employment-based categories, and served abroad at the USCIS field offices in the Philippines and South Korea, where he managed the military naturalization program in Asia. He began his public service as a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State, serving at the U.S. Consulate General in the Netherlands.


  • The Dickinson School of Law, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
    • J.D. – 1995
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Bloomsburg University
    • B.S. – 1992
    • Honors: summa cum laude


  • Pennsylvania, 1995
  • District of Columbia, 2008

Professional Associations

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Member, 2021


  • Chambers and Partners Ranking in Immigration, District of Columbia