Leon Fresco

Leon Fresco


Leon Fresco is an immigration attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office where he focuses his practice on providing global immigration representation to businesses, universities and individuals. He also represents clients in administrative law matters, governmental investigations of workplace compliance with immigration laws, and has extensive appellate, commercial litigation and legislation experience. Mr. Fresco was the primary drafter of S.744, the U.S. Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill of 2013. He uses his broad range of experience to develop creative solutions to achieve his clients' objectives, which often may involve multistage representation before administrative agencies and federal courts and the development of policy solutions.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Fresco was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Immigration Litigation at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Division. In this position, Mr. Fresco provided litigation risk assessments to cabinet members in Executive Branch agencies. He also oversaw all civil immigration litigation on behalf of the federal government, including representation of the DOJ, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS). This involved supervision of more than 350 attorneys working on nearly 10,000 cases per year. He also advised and assisted client agencies in drafting immigration regulations. In this capacity, and prior to entering government service, Mr. Fresco argued extensively in six of the federal appellate circuit courts, including several en banc arguments.

Prior to joining the DOJ, Mr. Fresco was the staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, handling matters involving immigration, refugees and border security, including managing the subcommittee's oversight functions involving the DOJ, DHS, HHS, DOL and DOS. He was the principal advisor to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), former chairman of the subcommittee, on all aspects of immigration law and policy.

During his time on the subcommittee, Mr. Fresco drafted several pieces of legislation, including the 1) Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, 2) the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, 3) the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act and 4) the Israel E-2 Visa Bill.

Mr. Fresco was an associate and a Chesterfield Smith Fellow in Holland & Knight's Miami office prior to his work in Washington, D.C. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Daniel T.K. Hurley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

From May 2019 to March 2021, Mr. Fresco served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He is a frequent commentator on the Bloomberg Law Podcast regarding all immigration matters in the news and in the courts.

He has taught various courses on immigration law and ethics as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Law School and American University, Washington College of Law.

In Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers, Mr. Fresco was recognized for Immigration in the 2018-2022 guides. One market source comments:

He is "incredibly responsive, hard-working and has an encyclopedic knowledge of matters within his specialty."


  • Yale Law School, J.D.
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., Economics, Political Science, summa cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • All State Courts in Florida
  • All Federal Courts in Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Homeland Security Advisory Council, May 2019-March 2021
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Immigration Law, 2020-2023
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
  • Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers magazine, 2020
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Immigration, 2018-2023
  • Immigration Trailblazer, National Law Journal, 2018
  • South Florida Most Effective Pro Bono Lawyer, Daily Business Review, 2006-2009
  • Charles G. Albom Prize, Yale Law School, 2003
  • Simon Kuznets Fellowship Award, University of Pennsylvania, 1998