Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Nelson A. Vargas-Padilla to begin hearing cases in August 2018. Judge Vargas-Padilla earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 from the State University of New York at Albany and a Juris Doctor in 1994 from the University at Buffalo School of Law. From 2016 to 2018, he served as a litigation and national security counsel for the Litigation and National Security Coordination Law Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in Washington, D.C. From 2015 to 2016, he was a transformation counsel and immigration officer for the Refugee Affairs Division, USCIS, DHS, in Kenya and Malaysia. From 2013 to 2016, he was a transformation counsel for the Transformation Law Division, USCIS, DHS, also in Washington, D.C. From 2001 to 2007, he was assistant chief counsel; from 2007 to 2009, he was senior attorney; and from 2009 to 2013, he was deputy chief counsel for the Office of Chief Counsel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS, in Baltimore. From 1996 to 2001, he was an attorney advisor for the Board of Immigration Appeals, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice, in Falls Church, Virginia. Judge Vargas-Padilla is a member of the New Jersey State Bar.