Nandita Mohan / Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell Law Alum takes on position for Department of Homeland Security.

February 19, 2020

Cornell Law Alum Named Homeland Security Head Lawyer

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Just seven years after graduating from Cornell Law School, Chad Mizelle J.D.’13 has been appointed to serve as acting General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security.

The alumnus was appointed by President Trump to serve as DHS’ top lawyer just five months after he fired predecessor John Mitnick, who was terminated for challenging a White House proposal that suggested relocating migrants to sanctuary cities, rather than border towns, according to The New York Times.

Mizelle’s appointment was first confirmed by CNN through a DHS internal announcement they independently obtained. Although Mizelle’s appointment has not yet been announced in a press release, he is currently listed on the DHS website as acting General Counsel.

Mizelle graduated magna cum laude from Cornell Law School in 2013, where he was active in the Cornell Law Review, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also served as the Mock Trial team’s head coach during the 2012-13 season.

After graduating, Mizelle worked as an attorney and law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, before joining the Department of Justice in 2017 to work as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General. Subsequently, he served in the White House as an Associate Counsel to the President from 2018 to 2019.

Within the past year, Mizelle has worn many legal hats within homeland security, serving as Deputy General Counsel, Chief of Staff and now acting General Counsel.

According to the Counsel’s website, in this role, Mizelle will oversee an office of 2,500 attorneys, who are responsible for overseeing the Department’s rulemaking process and compliance with statutes and executive orders.

Various media outlets have described Mizelle as a staunch ally of Stephen Miller, a close Trump advisor who has gained a controversial reputation for engineering much of the administration’s hardline stances on immigration enforcement.

In response to these criticisms, DHS spokeswoman, Heather Swift, said the backlash “sounds like political opponents or activists grasping for straws trying to criticize the administration as we add up continued policy successes.”