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Thomas K. Ragland

Member
fax +1 202.552.2384

Thomas Ragland supports individual and corporate clients in a broad range of immigration matters, including federal court litigation, defense against removal, complex asylum claims, naturalization and citizenship matters, consular processing, challenges to INTERPOL Red Notices, and contesting terrorism- and security-related bars to admission.

Thomas has practiced immigration law for more than 20 years. Prior to joining private practice, Thomas worked for 10 years in the U.S. Department of Justice, joining directly after graduating from law school through the Attorney General’s Honor Program. At DOJ, Thomas represented the government in the Boston Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Civil Division Office of Immigration Litigation. Since leaving the government in 2004, Thomas has devoted himself to guiding individuals and companies through the complex, often overwhelming U.S. immigration system. He brings an unwavering commitment to his clients and a genuine desire to help them achieve their goals and dreams – whether obtaining U.S. citizenship or permanent residence, avoiding deportation, obtaining visas for employees or family members, or challenging agency decisions in federal court. Having worked on both sides of the system, Thomas brings wide-ranging experience and a deep understanding of this country’s immigration laws. He is highly regarded as a top litigator, a creative legal thinker, and a tireless advocate for his clients. Thomas focuses his practice on litigation before the federal courts, immigration courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals as well as representation of clients before the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. consulates abroad. He is a seasoned litigator known for handling complex matters for both individual and corporate clients. He has specific experience in district court and appellate litigation, defense against removal, immigration consequences of criminal convictions, asylum, waivers of inadmissibility, citizenship and permanent residence, complex consular matters, post-conviction relief in federal court, and defense against terrorism- and security-related bars to admission.

Thomas is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration issues. Thomas serves as Member in Charge of the firm’s Washington, DC office.

Education

J.D., cum laude, Boston College Law School, Newton, Massachusetts, 1994, Editor-in-Chief, Boston College Third World Law Journal, 1993-1994
B.A., with Honors, University of Virginia-Main Campus, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1988, Philosophy

Recognitions

2010- 2022: Best Lawyers in America- Immigration Law

Board of Immigration Appeals Outstanding Performance Awards (1997- 2003)

Board of Immigration Appeals Special Achievement Awards (1998-1999)

Business Immigration Law Firm of the Year – Washington DC, Corporate INTL Magazine Global Award (2018-2021)

Business Immigration Law Firm of the Year – Washington DC, GlobalLawExperts (2018-2020)

Chambers USA (2018-2021)

Edith Lowenstein Award for Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (2013)

NLJ Immigration Law Trailblazer (2019)

Super Lawyers (2012-2021)

Top Lawyers – Washington DC, The Washingtonian (2009- 2015)

Tier 1 Ranking for Immigration Law – Washington DC, US News and World Report (2017)

The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers (2015 – 2021)

Memberships

American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Immigration Litigation Subcommittee

American Immigration Council, Legal Action Committee, Member, Board of Advisors (2011-present)

American Immigration Lawyers Association (2004-present), Chair, Federal Court Litigation Section (2011-2013); Chair, Litigation Committee, D.C. Chapter (2007-2013); Steering Committee Member, Federal Court Litigation Section (2013-present)

American University Washington College of Law, Adjunct Professor of Law

Bar of the District of Columbia, Co-Chair, International Law Section, Committee on Immigration & Human Rights (2010-2011)

Maryland State Bar Association

Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Member, Advisory Board (2012-present)

National Lawyer’s Guild, National Immigration Project

State Bar Licenses

District of Columbia, Maryland

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
U.S. District Ct., District of Columbia
U.S. District Ct., District of Maryland

Selected Publications

  • Co-author, Practice Advisory for 2015 AILA Annual Conference, “How to Deal with ‘Impossible’ Visa Denials and Cancellations,” 2015.
  • Contributing Editor, “AILA’s Asylum Primer: A Practical Guide to U.S. Asylum Law and Procedure, Seventh Edition” by Dree Collopy, 2015.
  • Author, Practice Advisory for 2014 AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference, “The Petition for Review,” 2014.
  • Author, 2014 AILA South Florida Chapter CLE Conference, “The 212(h) Aggravated Felony Bar: The BIA Versus the Courts,” 2014.
  • Author, Practice Advisory for 2013 AILA Annual Conference, “The Top 10 Things to Remember: Petitions for Rehearing,” 2013.
  • Co-author (with Cheryl David and Emily White), Practice Advisory for 2012 AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference, “Waivers and Litigation,” 2012.
  • Co-author (with Jennifer D. Cook), What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Immigration Law, American Bar Association, “Litigating Immigration Cases in Federal Court,” 2012.
  • Co-author, Law & Society Association, “Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds: Litigation Strategies in the U.S. and Canada,” 2010.
  • Co-author, Duane Morris Alert, “U.S. Supreme Court’s Sixth-Amendment Ruling Requires Defense Counsel to Inform Immigrant When Plea May Lead to Deportation,” April 7, 2010.
  • Quote, McClatchy Newspapers (Marisa Taylor), “Why are U.S.-Allied Refugees Still Branded as ‘Terrorists?’” July 26, 2009.
  • Author, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, “What did Compean Accomplish? The Uncertain Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel in Immigration Proceedings,” June 2009.
  • Author, Duane Morris Alert, “E-Verify Requirement for Federal Contractors Delayed Again,” June 2, 2009.
  • Author, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, “Nken v. Holder: Impact on Stays of Removal and Beyond,” May 2009.
  • Quoted, McClatchy Newspapers (Marisa Taylor), “U.S. Allies Losing Asylum Bids Over Definition of ‘Terrorist’,” May 2, 2009.
  • Author, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, “Supreme Court Strikes Down Long-Standing BIA Interpretation of ‘Persecutor Bar’,” March 2009.
  • Contributing Editor, Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook, 11th & 12th eds., 2008, 2010.
  • Quoted, Washington Post, (Karen DeYoung) “Stalwart Service for U.S. in Iraq Is Not Enough to Gain Green Card,” March 23, 2008.
  • Author, Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, “Supreme Court Rules for Thousands Deported: State Felony Drug Possession Offense That Would be Classified as a Misdemeanor Under Federal Law Is Not an ‘Aggravated Felony,’” December 18, 2006.
  • Author, 75 Interpreter Releases 1541, “Presumed Incredible: A View from the Dissent,” November 9, 1998.
  • Author, Boston College Third World Law Journal 301, “Burma’s Rohingyas in Crisis: Protection of ‘Humanitarian’ Refugees under International Law,” Summer 1994.

Selected Presentations

  • Panelist, “How to Deal with ‘Impossible’ Visa Denials and Cancellations” and “What Business Immigration Attorneys Need to Know About Federal Court,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, Washington, DC, June 17-20, 2015.
  • Panelist, “Family Based Petitions and Successful Waiver Applications,” AILA 2015 Philadelphia Chapter Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 27, 2015.
  • Panelist, “Appellate Issues,” AILA 2014 Fall Topics CLE Conference, Seattle, Washington, September 19, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Complicated Naturalization Cases,” AILA 2014 Federal Court Litigation CLE Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 28, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Fraud and Criminal Waivers, the New Terrain,” 35th Annual Immigration Law Update, Miami, Florida, February 6-7, 2014.
  • Panelist, “Effective Appellate Brief Writing,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, San Francisco, California, June 24-27, 2013.
  • Faculty Member and Conference Committee Member, AILA/AIC 2013 Litigation Institute, Washington, DC, March 8-10, 2013.
  • Panelist, “BIA and Federal Court Update: and “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers,” 34th Annual Immigration Law Update Conference, Miami, Florida, February 7-8, 2013.
  • Panelist, “Litigating Immigration Cases in Federal Court” and “Latest Updates in ‘Crimmigration’ Law,” 10th Annual Immigration Law Institute, Columbus, Ohio, November 1, 2012.
  • Panelist, “Waivers and Litigation,” AILA Fall Topics CLE Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Sept. 14, 2012.
  • Panelist, “Federal Court Litigation Masters,” AILA Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, June 13-16, 2012.
  • Discussion Leader, “Welcome to Federal Court” and “Challenging Consular Decisions,” American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Federal Court Immigration Litigation CLE Practicum & Webcast, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 5-6, 2012.
  • Panelist, “Recent Developments in Employment Based Adjudication,” American Bar Association’s 2011 Fall Administrative Law Conference, Washington, DC, November 17-18, 2011.
  • Panelist, “The Immigration Consequences of Sex Offenses,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, San Diego, California, June 15-18, 2011.
  • Discussion Leader, “Challenging Consular Decisions,” American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Federal Court Immigration Litigation CLE Practicum, Atlanta, Georgia, March 3-4, 2011.
  • Moderator, “The Impact of Immigration Law: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” American Bar Association’s 2010 Administrative Law Conference, Washington, DC, November 4, 2010.
  • Discussion Leader, “Combating the Terrorism Bars Before DHS and the Courts,” American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference, National Harbor, Maryland, June 30-July 3, 2010.
  • Panelist, “The Material Support Bar and Security Inadmissibility: Coordinating Advocacy and Analysis in the U.S. and Canada,” Law & Society Association 2010 Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, May 28, 2010.
  • Speaker, “Duane Morris’ Developments in Workplace Law & Practice 2010,” Washington, DC, May 11, 2010.
  • Speaker, “Goin’ to the Crossroads of Immigration and Criminal Law: Convictions, Removability and Relief,” American Immigration Lawyers Association 2009 Fall Topics CLE Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, December 14, 2009.
  • Speaker, “The New Form I-9,” Business 21 Publishing webinar, July 21, 2009.
  • Panelist, “District Court Challenges to Unlawful Agency Action: the APA, Declaratory Actions, Habeas, and Mandamus”; “The Material Support Bar to Asylum and Adjustment,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 3-6, 2009.
  • Speaker, “Removal for Experts: The Changing Definition of Crimes of Moral Turpitude,” Immigration Lawyers Weekly (ILW.com) Teleconference, March 19, 2009.
  • Speaker, “Motions Practice; The New Era of Litigation Practice” and “Mock Cross-Examinations: Taking it to the Mat,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2008 Fall Topics CLE Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, December 11, 2008.
  • Speaker, “Defending Your Client in Immigration Proceedings: Defending Against Security Grounds of Removal,” 2008 Annual Conference, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), Detroit, Michigan, October 15, 2008.
  • Moderator, “The Sleeping Giant: The Material Support to Terrorism Bar to Admissibility – Who’s Covered, Who’s Not, and What to Do About It,” American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Education Dept. Podcast, October 2008.
  • Faculty Member, American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) 2008 Litigation Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland, September 12-14, 2008.
  • Speaker, “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law: Implications of Criminal Convictions,” District of Columbia Bar Association, CLE Program, Washington, DC, May 27, 2008
  • Panelist, “Barriers to International Scholarship,” 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Pittsburgh, May 8, 2008.
  • Moderator, “Hitting a Homerun: How to Litigate Security Check Issues, Mandamus and 1447(b) actions in Federal Court,” 2008 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) DC Annual Conference, Washington, DC, March 6, 2008.
  • Panelist, “International Scholars and National Borders,” 2008 Conference of the American Historical Association (AHA), Washington, DC, January 3, 2008.
  • Speaker, “Protecting Immigrant Rights: Understanding Policies Affecting Our Community,” Fourth National Conference of the Network of Arab-American Professionals, New York, November 18, 2007.
  • Speaker, “Challenging Documentary Evidence in Applications for Relief,” 2007 Annual Conference, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP/NLG), Washington, DC, October 31, 2007.
  • Faculty Member, American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) 2007 Litigation Institute, Louisville, Colorado, July 27-29, 2007.
  • Speaker, “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Immigration Law: Implications of Criminal Convictions,” District of Columbia Bar Association, CLE Program, Washington, DC, May 29, 2007.