Get to Know
Christopher W. Dempsey
Christopher W. Dempsey, principal of Dempsey Law PLLC, served with the Office of Immigration Litigation at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. for over a decade. He retired in March 2018 as the Chief of the National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit within his Section, where he supervised a team of attorneys conducting national security and immigration-related, affirmative and defensive litigation in district courts and courts of appeal across the nation. Mr. Dempsey supervised all national security litigation of an office with over 75 attorneys, regularly trained Department attorneys in Washington, D.C. and the National Advocacy Center, and instructed agency attorneys and law enforcement officers at venues throughout the United States. Prior to his work at the Justice Department, Mr. Dempsey served on active duty with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps then remained active trying criminal cases in the Army Reserves.
Mr. Dempsey has significant litigation experience. He has appeared in thirty-nine U.S. District Courts and eight U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, tried seventeen jury cases and over fifty bench trials, and handled dozens of appeals. Mr. Dempsey has worked a broad range of cases, from felony and capital criminal matters to civil suits under the Immigration and Nationality Act — including naturalization, adjustment of status, visa and passport matters, immigration detention, programmatic challenges, and denaturalization cases — as well as actions under the Administrative Procedure Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, and Bivens cases. Mr. Dempsey has also handled dozens of habeas petitions and nation-wide class actions.
Mr. Dempsey is licensed to practice law in the states of Florida and Arkansas, and is authorized to practice before all immigration agencies and authorities. He is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”), serves as an Executive Director of the Central Florida Chapter (“CFC”) of AILA and Chair of its Litigation & Collective Advocacy, regularly provides instruction as faculty at national immigration seminars, and is routinely sought out for his expertise in immigration matters by attorneys across the nation.
Mr. Dempsey is a combat-Veteran having deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He volunteers assisting disabled and homeless Veterans in need through several local, national, and international non-profit organizations. He is also a Mentor with Veterans Treatment Court for the Fourth Judicial Circuit in and for Duval County, Florida.
Mr. Dempsey is an accomplished runner and has participated in more than twenty-five ultramarathons. The capstone of Mr. Dempsey’s running career was his completion of the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in 2016.
Career Highlights and Notable Positions
Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA")
Executive Director, Central Florida Chapter ("CFC"), AILA
Chair, Collective Advocacy & Litigation Committee, CFC-AILA
Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, FL Veterans Treatment Court Mentor
Recipient of U.S. Department of Justice Special Commendation Award
Founder/CEO of Mission Pheonix (Veteran Legal Assistance Charity)
Co-Founder, Northeast Florida Afghan Response Task Force, CFC-AILA
Presenter, "Defenses to Denaturalization," AILA (September 2020)
Presenter, "Motions and Review," Pincus Professional Ed (March 2021)
Presenter, "Federal Immigration Litigation 101," CFC-AILA (March 2022)
Co-Presenter, "Discretion and Difficult Naturalization Cases," Annual Conference, Federal Bar Association, Immigration Law Section (May 2022)
Lead Panelist, "Roadblocks in Consular Processing & Advanced Issues," Annual Conference, CFC-AILA (October 2022)
Panelist, " Utilizing All the Tools in Your Toolbox Pursuing Litigation to Overcome Denials and Delays and Current Mandamus Trends," CFC-AILA (October 2022)