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Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA)

"We work to ensure that criminals face justice in a court of law."

The largest legal program in DHS, ICE's Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) is the exclusive legal representative for the U.S. government in exclusion, deportation and removal proceedings before the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. OPLA attorneys also litigate immigration-related hearings on behalf of the United States involving criminal aliens, terrorists and human rights abusers.

OPLA is the largest legal program in the Department of Homeland Security, providing legal advice, training and services in cases related to the ICE mission.

OPLA also is the exclusive legal representative for the U.S. government in exclusion, deportation and removal proceedings before the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Moreover, OPLA attorneys litigate immigration-related hearings that involve criminal aliens, terrorists and human rights abusers.

OPLA also provides critical legal support to ICE components focusing on customs, worksite enforcement, ethics, employment law, tort claims and administrative law issues.

OPLA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has 26 offices throughout the country, each headed by a chief counsel.

Mission

OPLA protects the homeland by diligently litigating cases while adhering to the highest standards of professional conduct, and providing timely and accurate legal advice in support of the agency's mission.

Chief of Staff

  • Headquarters Administrative Operations
  • Executive Communications Unit
  • Executive Services Team

Enforcement and Litigation

  • District Court Litigation Division
  • Enforcement and Removal Operations Law Division
    • Detention and Removal Law Section
    • Enforcement Law Section
  • Homeland Security Investigations Law Division
    • Criminal Law Section
    • Human Rights Law Section
    • National Security Law Section
  • Immigration Law Practice Division

Field Legal Operations

  • 26 Offices of the Chief Counsel overseen by the Director and Deputy Directors of Field Legal Operations

General Law

  • Commercial and Administrative Law Division
  • Government Information Law Division
  • ICE Ethics Office
  • Knowledge Management Division
  • Labor and Employment Law Division
  • Mission Support Division
  • Training Division