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John R. Sandweg previously served as the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and as the Acting General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
As the Acting Director, Mr. Sandweg led approximately 20,000 employees in every state and 47 countries in the agency's mission to enhance public safety and border security through the enforcement of federal border control, customs, trade and immigration laws. While at ICE, Mr. Sandweg prioritized ICE’s intellectual property enforcement and cybersecurity efforts and worked to improve statistical transparency regarding immigration enforcement.
As the Acting General Counsel, Mr. Sandweg served as the chief legal officer for the Department, advising the Secretary and the Department’s senior leadership on all significant legal, policy, and operational issues and overseeing more than 1,800 lawyers in the Department’s headquarters and operating components. Mr. Sandweg played an instrumental role in Departmental policies, programs, and legislative efforts, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, pre-clearance operations, customs compliance and export controls, cybersecurity, and the SAFETY Act.
Prior to his service as Acting General Counsel, Mr. Sandweg served as Counselor at the Department of Homeland Security where he provided strategic advice and counsel on operational and policy direction and was a principal architect of the Department’s immigration, border security, and law enforcement policy. Mr. Sandweg is a recognized expert, frequently quoted in the New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, NPR, and many other publications.
Prior to his service at the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Sandweg was an attorney in private practice.
Ms. Valerio previously served for nine years at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a series of senior leadership positions at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Most recently, she served as the Director of Management where she was responsible for all business operations for the agency of approximately 20,000 employees in every state and 47 countries and management of the over $7 billion budget. Among other areas, she oversaw the “C Suite” functions including Human Resources, Acquisitions, the Chief Information Officer, and the Chief Financial Officer. While at ICE, she prioritized strategic improvements to key business processes impacting budget formulation and execution and re-engineering key human resources recruiting and hiring processes.
Prior to leading management, she was the Director of the ICE Office of Policy where she provided strategic advice to leadership on significant issues impacting the agency including immigration enforcement, immigration reform, immigration and customs-related operational policy, and agency management initiatives.
When Ms. Valerio first joined ICE, she was Special Advisor to the Director, where she coordinated several strategic joint public safety and investigative initiatives with the U.S. interagency and the Government of Mexico.
Before joining DHS, Ms. Valerio worked for the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Arizona, where she prosecuted hundreds of federal felony cases including sex trafficking, firearms offenses, immigration crimes and violent crime. She successfully first-chaired numerous federal jury trials and drafted and argued, cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Ms. Valerio served as DOJ’s first Resident Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, where she implemented the U.S. government’s Global Trafficking in Persons program and assisted in the foundational efforts for the ongoing Mérida Initiative, a binational security and public safety project between the U.S. and Mexico.
Before joining the federal government, Ms. Valerio was an attorney in private practice.
Jerry Robinette is the former Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Robinette led the largest SAC HSI office in the country with over 600 employees, covering 58 Texas counties with approximately 500 miles of Texas/Mexico border. The office encompassed two Federal Judicial Districts that consistently lead criminal prosecutions for the U.S. Government. The office, with its key national role in addressing both National and Public Safety threats posed by the southwest border and its wealth of criminal smuggling organizations, consistently ranks in the top offices for arrests and convictions and seizures of currency, weapons and drugs. Mr. Robinette was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award in 2012 for his accomplishments.
Following his retirement from federal service, Mr. Robinette served as Vice President of Global Financial Crimes Compliance and Executive Director for Investigations at JPMorgan Chase, directing and managing anti-money laundering teams comprised of over 150 compliance analysts and investigators focused on Counter Terrorist Financing and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act for all consumer related investigations.
Earlier in his federal career, Mr. Robinette served at ICE/U.S. Customs Service Headquarters in Washington D.C. from November 2001 to October 2004. Mr. Robinette served as the Unit Chief for Financial Investigations, ICE's Liaison to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Assistant Director of ICE's Money Laundering Coordination Center and Executive Deputy Director for Customs' Terrorist Financing Unit.
In 1992, Mr. Robinette was awarded the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association Special Award of Honor, associated with the seizure of over $100 million dollars and multi-tons of cocaine. In 1997, Mr. Robinette was awarded the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association Valor Award and FLEOA Valor Award.
Mr. Robinette began his career with the Houston Police Department (HPD) in 1979 as a Patrol Officer, Homicide Investigator, and as a Supervisor for Patrol, Narcotics and Internal Affairs. In 1988, Mr. Robinette was recognized as the Houston Police Supervisor of the Year. In 1990, Mr. Robinette was recognized as the Houston One Hundred Club Narcotics Officer of the Year and also received the HPD Police Chief Unit Citation associated with the seizure of $50 million dollars and multi-tons of cocaine.
Miguel Unzueta is the former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego, California office and ICE HSI Attaché in Rome, Italy. In his capacity as Attaché, Mr. Unzueta oversaw the investigative efforts under the jurisdiction of ICE, serving as the HSI Attaché to Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, San Marino, Malta and The Holy See as well.
Preceding his appointment as the Attaché in Rome, Mr. Unzueta served as the HSI Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego, California office – one of the largest and busiest domestic offices. He also served at U.S. Customs Service Headquarters in Washington, DC in a number of executive-level roles.
Mr. Unzueta began his federal law enforcement career with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 1983 and has an extensive background as an undercover operative.
Mr. Unzueta is a former member of the Senior Executive Service and in 2010 was a recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award.
Mr. Unzueta is a native of California and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Sacramento State University. Mr. Unzueta has also completed a Master’s degree as well as the Senior Executive Fellows Program within the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Claude Arnold retired as the Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, Los Angeles, California office. Mr. Arnold was responsible for all aspects of the ICE investigative mission in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and Southern Nevada including Las Vegas. Prior to that assignment, he served as the SAC of HSI, St. Paul, Minnesota which includes the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Mr. Arnold previously served as the Chief of the Human Rights Violators and Public Safety Unit at ICE Headquarters in Washington, DC where he had national oversight of ICE investigations of human rights violators and transnational gangs. He was awarded the Secretary’s Team Award for Excellence in 2006 for developing and deploying ICE’s national gang initiative, Operation Community Shield.
Mr. Arnold also previously served as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) in Chicago, Illinois. In that capacity, Mr. Arnold supervised the Criminal Alien, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Benefit Fraud, Human Rights Violators, Critical Infrastructure and Compliance Enforcement groups.
Before his assignment as an ASAC in Chicago, Mr. Arnold was a Supervisory Special Agent in Denver, Colorado where he supervised the Major Crimes, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and National Security groups.
Mr. Arnold began his federal career in 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona. As a Special Agent, he was assigned to the Law Enforcement Support Center, Fraud, Worksite Enforcement and Violent Gang Task Force groups. In 1999, Mr. Arnold received an individual Commissioner’s Award for Interior Enforcement recognizing his accomplishments in gang enforcement.
Mr. Arnold has an undergraduate degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Yvonne Robinette retired from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in January 2012, with over 33 years of federal law enforcement experience with ICE and the U.S. Customs Service.
Ms. Robinette served as a Resident Agent in Charge within ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in San Antonio, Texas, overseeing investigations of alleged criminal and administrative misconduct by ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees. Prior to her OPR assignment, Ms. Robinette supervised the ICE Arms and Strategic Technology unit responsible for investigations of illegal export of U.S. munitions and sensitive technology.
Ms. Robinette previously served in Headquarters assignments in Washington, D.C. conducting financial investigations as a Program Manager in the Customs Service’s Terrorist Financing Unit and Section Chief for the Money Laundering Coordination Center.
Earlier in her career as a U.S. Customs Service Special Agent in Houston, Texas, Ms. Robinette conducted and coordinated criminal investigations targeting transnational crime, money laundering, narcotics smuggling, child pornography, customs fraud, intellectual property theft and internal affairs. Ms. Robinette performed and developed extensive skills in the application of undercover tactics during investigations and conducted undercover operative training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy.
Ms. Robinette began her federal law enforcement career in El Paso, Texas, as a Customs Inspector in 1978, and an Import Specialist in 1984. Ms. Robinette held numerous positions within Customs' import and trade enforcement programs, providing her with expertise and insight into all aspects of the Customs process.
Ms. Robinette graduated from St. Edwards University with a B.A. degree in Psychology. Ms. Robinette is bilingual and native Spanish speaker.
Rachel Winkler serves as Senior Counsel for Frontier Solutions. She is a former Immigration Law Analyst with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she focused on policies impacting the delivery of immigration benefits and services by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, including employment-based immigration programs, family-reunification benefits, as well as, humanitarian protections for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other serious crimes. In this role, Rachel helped establish the Department’s Council on Combating Violence Against Women and served as a Senior Advisor on the DHS Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking.
During her time at the Department, Rachel also served as a Special Advisor in the Office of the Secretary where she provided strategic guidance on efforts to implement comprehensive immigration reform, issues impacting immigration enforcement and border security, and also contributed to the roll-out and implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Rachel is a founding member and Past-President of the Military Spouse JD Network, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and a member of the Arizona State Bar. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona College of Law.
Catherine Ingram is an Associate Attorney at Frontier Solutions, based out of Washington, D.C. Her practice primarily focuses on the firm’s business immigration and criminal defense matters. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Ingram clerked for the Honorable Lynne Battaglia of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Ms. Ingram graduated cum laude from American University Washington College of Law, where she served as a Senior Staff member on the American University Law Review as well as on the Moot Court team. Ms. Ingram also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History from New York University. She is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia.