As an immigration attorney in today’s political environment, David W. Leopold said his job has become more difficult under President Donald Trump’s administration, but the new challenges that come with it have kept him energized.
“My job right now is much more difficult because you have an administration that wants to lock the doors to the country to job creators, to innovators, to people who want to bring new ideas, so it’s more difficult,” he said. “But it’s also more satisfying because the Trump administration is completely wrong on immigration, and it’s a struggle that will ultimately win because the country has thrived on immigrants and immigration and that’s what made America as amazing as it is.”
Before becoming partner and chair of the immigration law group at Ulmer & Berne LLP in Cleveland, Leopold led his own immigration law practice for more than 20 years. As he’s gotten involved in advocacy and politics around immigration, he said he views his career as more of a calling than a job and cites his upbringing as to why he became active in immigration law.
“I was raised at the knee of a Holocaust survivor,” he said. “My father fled the Nazis, and I was brought up in a home were I learned how important it is to defend your rights.”
His analyses and opinions on current immigration issues regularly appear in national media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, CNN and the BBC among others.
He described today’s immigration environment in the United States as “awful” and the treatment of immigrants as “repulsive.” He added that it’s due to the current administration, which he described it as the “most anti-immigrant administration in the history of the country.”
“It’s repulsive as an America, it’s repulsive as a lawyer and it’s repulsive as a Jew,” said Leopold.
Throughout his career, he’s most proud of being able to help people and businesses thrive in the United States. Even as each day brings new difficulties, Leopold stays motivated to keep fighting because he views now as a more crucial time then ever.
“I think right now we’re in an epic battle for the survival of the United States. We’ve got the biggest threat ever to the rule of law and to our system of government and I think that’s what keeps me motivated,” he said. “We’ve got to right this wrong, meaning we have to make sure the country, the rule of law, the way of life of this country is protected from those who want to tear it down for partisan gain.”
He said he incorporates his Jewish background throughout his career by giving back to the community and in his efforts to make the world a better place, or tikkun olam.