Phoenix Attorney, Napolitano Friend, Heads to USCIS

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on October 21, 2009

Longtime Phoenix immigration attorney Roxana Bacon has been appointed Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, effective today. In her new position, Bacon will have the job not only of supervising the agency's several hundred lawyers but also of helping to draft immigration reform legislation for the Obama administration.

Bacon is a friend of Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. She has been a frequent contributor to Democratic candidates and organizations. Her one contribution to a Republican over the past 16 years, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, was a $250 check in 1998 to then-Sen. Spencer Abraham. Abraham was chairman of the Senate Judiciary immigration subcommittee and an advocate of expansive immigration policies.

In 2000 the Arizona Republic reported that Bacon's Phoenix law firm "handles more than 1,000 H-1B applications a year for companies including Motorola Inc., ON Semiconductor and Microchip Technology."

Bacon, 66, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile before becoming an attorney, has written passionately in defense of expansive immigration policies. In a 2004 article for Arizona Attorney magazine she wrote:

"I am not blind to the hostility against immigration that has always accompanied our new arrivals. I have studied it all my professional life and I think I understand it. It is ugly. It is fear-based. It springs from incuriosity, the cerebral cortex of ignorance. It is nurtured by the greed gene that says someone new takes from your share, while in truth someone new makes the pie bigger."

Bacon added:

"I do not advocate open borders. A carefully crafted border policy that can be enforced and that targets genuine terror threats is reasonable. But we do not have that. We have a blunderbuss approach where we need a laser. The answer to a broken immigration policy is not more punishment and regulation. We need the opposite. Easing the movement of people who mean us no harm the way leading companies have eased the movement of capital is our only hope for a world that must live and move together, if not in harmony then at least not in mayhem."

Bacon was general counsel of the American Immigration Lawyers Association from 1993 to 1995. She was president of the State Bar of Arizona from 1991 to 1992.

In 2007, the Arizona Republic reported that she was part of "a gaggle" of Napolitano friends who had "pitched in to commission a painting of the governor in honor of her fiftieth birthday."