Nixon Peabody LLP
Rachel Winkler is a member of the Cross-Border Risks team. Her practice focuses on immigration benefits and visas, removal defense, and international criminal investigations. Rachel specializes in providing legal advice to start-ups, entertainment, influencer, fashion, sports, music, and creative-arts industry clients on immigration sponsorship, visa eligibility, and I-9 compliance. She also helps individuals with white collar convictions defend their immigration status and stay in the United States. Through her extensive experience working with federal law enforcement partners and immigration professionals at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Rachel is uniquely positioned to provide strategic legal guidance to businesses and individuals with complex visa problems. She is admitted to practice in Arizona and Florida and is supervised by attorneys admitted to practice in the District of Columbia.
What do you focus on?
The United States is becoming increasingly difficult to access, and when a problem arises, like a visa denial due to international criminal charges, there are limited opportunities to change an outcome. Where sensitive timelines or business requirements dictate immediate action, the immigration system can cause necessary delays due to confusing, bureaucratic processes. I specialize in these types of complex problems by identifying creative immigration solutions. With my government expertise working across DHS and with other federal agencies, I have the right background and experience to assist.
The current administration’s “Buy American, Hire American,” policy has made it increasingly complicated for foreign artists, actors, musicians, and influencers to obtain visas to work in the United States. For these professionals, access to the U.S. market is a necessary benchmark for a successful international career. I help my clients with these unique skills explain their professional experience in a way that shows their value and positive impact on the United States, leading to visa approvals.
International Criminal Matters and Immigration Consequences
Law-enforcement information sharing makes our country safer and more secure, but the integrity of successfully challenging that information can be questionable, particularly when based on allegations alone. I help clients challenge those allegations when their ability to secure lawful entry into the United States is impacted.
I previously served in a variety of roles with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; this insider experience helps me guide my clients through the complex environment that shapes our immigration process. While at DHS, I handled enforcement and border security issues and made policy recommendations to improve the delivery of immigration benefits and services by the government. I also assisted on development and implementation of comprehensive immigration reform, including programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. I am most proud of my work leading the department’s Council on Combating Violence Against Women and serving as Senior Advisor on anti-human trafficking initiatives—including representing the U.S. government in global summits with international partner governments.