USC Gould Search

Lecturers in Law

Seth Stodder

Seth Stodder

Lecturer in Law

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 11, 2017

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA




Seth Stodder is a lawyer, writer, and frequent commentator on national security issues, foreign policy, borders and immigration, international trade, privacy, cybersecurity, and constitutional law. Until recently, he served in the Obama Administration as assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Border, Immigration & Trade Policy and, prior to that, as assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Threat Prevention & Security Policy.

In those roles, Stodder led teams advising White House and DHS leadership and developing policy on border security, immigration and visa policy, trade, screening and vetting of individuals for national security purposes, law enforcement matters, cybersecurity and surveillance issues, and the negotiation of international information sharing agreements aimed at interdicting the movement of foreign terrorist fighters through global transportation systems.

During his tenure as assistant secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration, Stodder was particularly focused on the threat presented by ISIS, Al Qaeda and homegrown extremists, particularly in the wake of the 2015-2016 wave of attacks in Europe and the United States. During this high-threat period, Stodder oversaw the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, led DHS policy regarding vetting and screening of people and cargo moving through global transportation systems, represented DHS on the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), and served as Co-Chair of the DHS Task Force on the use of social media for vetting purposes, consistent with privacy rights and civil liberties, stood up in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks. He was also particularly focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, the flow of thousands of Syrians and other migrants and asylum seekers into the European Union, and the humanitarian and security challenges this ongoing crisis continues to present to Europe and the United States, as the Syrian Civil War and the conflict with ISIS deepens. As assistant secretary for Border, Immigration & Trade Policy, Stodder also led DHS policy regarding the substantial migration of Central Americans fleeing violence and extreme poverty to seek humanitarian protection in the United States – and the challenges this issue continues to present to the security of the U.S.-Mexico border, and the functioning of our overtaxed immigration system. He also oversaw all DHS international engagements with the countries of the Western Hemisphere, as well as other countries around the world, leading negotiations and bilateral discussions with various countries, including Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Germany, and the Five Eyes countries, among others.

Earlier in his career, he served in the George W. Bush Administration as director of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and counselor/senior policy advisor to Commissioner Robert C. Bonner, in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks. In between tours of government service, Stodder has practiced constitutional law at major law firms, and led a homeland security consulting firm. He is a member of the Truman National Security Project, served as a German Marshall Memorial Fellow, and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. He received his JD from the USC Gould School of Law, and his BA from Haverford College. He is a prolific writer, with various recent pieces published in Politico and other publications.

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg BNA
July 19, 2017
Re: John Matsusaka

John Matsusaka, director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute, was quoted on the effectiveness of ballot measures for enacting conceptual issues compared to regulatory issues. “In my mind, ballot propositions are good for conceptual issues—do you want to limit your property taxes, or do you want to have the death penalty or not,” Matsusaka said. “I don’t think it’s good for detailed regulatory structures.”

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