Mark Stevens guides individuals and companies through the United States immigration system.
Mark has won lawful permanent residence for hundreds of people through both family- and employment-based immigration. Mark successfully protects many clients from deportation. He has won challenging waivers of inadmissibility for many of his clients.
Mark works with people and companies of all types and sizes, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Central American families seeking humanitarian protection to Middle Eastern businesspeople seeking greater opportunity. His practice focuses on deportation defense, benefits applications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, federal court litigation, and appeals.
2017 – 2021: Super Lawyers – Rising Star, Immigration
State Bar Licenses
- AILA-DC, Member/Chair of Litigation Committee, 2018-2021
- AILA-DC, Chair of Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law Committee, 2016 – 2018
- AILA-DC, Member of Conference Committee, 2016 – 2018
- Volunteer at CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas, Oct. 2016
- Advisor, Immigration Law Society at George Mason University, 2013 – present
- Youth Group Leader, Fairfax Presbyterian Church, 2016-2020
U.S. Courts of Appeals
- Rodriguez de Estrada v. Barr, No. 18-71326, 2019 WL 1779438 (9th Cir. 23, 2019) – holding that Board of Immigration Appeals erred in denying asylum and Convention Against Torture relief to Salvadoran woman who feared persecution by gangs on account of family membership.
- Ul Zaman v. Sessions, No 17-2142 (4th Cir. July 11, 2018) – vacating removal order because client’s abduction conviction no longer qualified as an aggravated felony.
U.S. District Courts
- Portillo v. Hott, 322 F. Supp. 3d 698 (E.D. Va. 2018) – holding INA § 236(c) unconstitutional as applied and ordering a bond hearing for noncitizen in prolonged mandatory detention.
- Diaz v. Hott, 297 F. Supp. 3d 618 (E.D. Va. 2018), aff’d sub. nom. Guzman Chavez v. Hott, 940 F.3d 867 (4th Cir. 2019) – class action granting bond hearings to all noncitizens detained in Virginia in withholding-only proceedings, leading to release of over 100 people.
- Guevara v. Zanotti, 399 F. Supp. 3d 494 (E.D. Va. Aug. 5, 2019) – holding that the immigration court retains jurisdiction over an application for lawful permanent residence filed by noncitizen who was placed into removal proceedings and later traveled on advance parole.
U.S. Department of Labor
- Successfully petitioned for reconsideration of denied labor certification regarding whether American workers were rejected for lawful reasons.
- Successfully petitioned for reconsideration of denied labor certification regarding sufficiency of proof of recruitment.
Board of Immigration Appeals
- IJ had denied waiver of criminal ground of inadmissibility under INA § 212(h) as a matter of discretion. BIA reversed, finding that police reports alone shouldn’t merit a refusal to exercise discretion.
- Won reopening of removal proceeding for former lawful permanent resident whose status was wrongfully terminated by the IJ. Convinced BIA that notice to client’s prior counsel was insufficient because removal proceedings had ended.
- Won reopening of removal proceedings for Iraqi man based on changed country conditions despite convictions for domestic assault and battery, child abuse, and violating a protective order.
- Won reopening of proceedings for Pakistani man based on changes in law that invalidated original ground of removability. IJ later granted a low bond. Man had convictions for domestic assault and battery, assault and battery (2x), violating a protective order (2x), DUI, disorderly conduct, and driving on suspended license.
- Won adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident for Chilean man with convictions for possessing drug paraphernalia, hit and run, and DUI. (Philadelphia)
- Won asylum for victim of severe domestic violence based on particular social group “Women in Honduras,” despite Attorney General’s effort to bar asylum to such victims in Matter of A-B-. Decision was circulated nationwide and the subject of blog posts by former BIA Chairman Paul Schmidt and former Immigration Judge Jeffrey Chase. (Arlington)
- Won bond for Guatemalan man. Convinced judge that Virginia hit and run is not a crime involving moral turpitude, contrary to decisions from other immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals. (Arlington)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Obtained H-1B visas for woman from Ethiopia as Market Research Analyst and for a Nepalese man as Accountant, both at a regional security service company.
- Obtained H-1B visa for special education teacher at church-based preschool.
- Obtained provisional unlawful presence waiver for Honduran man. Relevant hardship factors: low income, spouse required to work odd hours on nights and weekends while taking care of 2 kids, spouse suffered from hypertension and depression, and son suffered from asthma and allergies.
- Kosovar man with conviction for misdemeanor sexual battery applied for naturalization on his own twice and was denied twice. We applied for naturalization again, it was denied a third time, and we appealed. USCIS delayed the decision. We threatened litigation over the delay, and USCIS approved naturalization.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Represented returning lawful permanent resident at deferred inspection for questioning about alleged marriage fraud. Mark limited the scope of questioning and the client was admitted.
U.S. Department of State
- After Seoul consulate denied immigrant visas, submitted brief to DOS’s LegalNet on Child Status Protection Act. Convinced DOS that clients sought to acquire permanent residence within one year of visa availability. Clients were granted immigrant visas.
- Honduran man was unlawfully present in U.S., had been removed in 1996, and unlawfully reentered in 1997. Mark had the removal order vacated through a motion to reopen. USCIS approved a provisional unlawful presence waiver. Department of State granted immigrant visa based on a novel interpretation of INA § 212(a)(9)(C). Convinced consulate that the permanent bar to inadmissibility for reentering the U.S. after deportation could be cured by the granting of a motion to reopen.
- “Practice Advisory: Federal Court Litigation for Family-Based Practitioners,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”), July 2020
- “Practice Advisory: Prolonged Detention, American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”), June 2019
- “Regulatory Comment: DOL Should Allow Attorneys to Register for PERM Labor Certification Accounts” March 24, 2015, regulatory comment republished as a featured article of the day by ILW.com
- “Exit Tracking: Should the Federal Government Track Noncitizens’ Departures from the United States?” National Security Law Brief at American University 3, No. 1 (2012): 11-34
- Frequent submitter of regulatory comments on immigration matters, including one comment which led to a correction of 6 C.F.R. § 5.42
- AILA Annual Conference 2020 – Federal Court Litigation for Family-Based Practitioners
- AILA Annual Conference 2019 – Prolonged Detention
- AILA-DC Conference 2018 – Habeas Corpus Overview
- AILA-DC Webinar on Volunteering at Dilley, Texas, July 2017
- Frequent speaker & guest lecturer, George Mason University School of Law, 2015 – present
- “4th Circuit Punches Another Hole in Trump Administration’s ‘New American Gulag’” by Former Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Schmidt, October 17, 2019
- “Due Process at Work: Gender-Based Claims are Winning” by Former Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Schmidt, January 17, 2019
- “IJs Grant Gender-Based Asylum Claims” by former Immigration Judge Jeffrey S. Chase, January 20, 2019
- Interviewed by CBS News WUSA9 in “For Years, Undocumented Immigrants Fought Deportation on Their Own. Soon, Fairfax Co. Will Offer them Legal Aid” May 1, 2019