Rachel Winkler - Nixon Peabody LLP

Rachel S. Winkler

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.

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.

Government Experience

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.

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.


For foreign artists, actors, musicians, and influencers, 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.

What do you see on the horizon?

With an ever-growing competitive global market, U.S. companies must work harder and smarter to attract and retain the best talent and international professionals. As the expansion of global information-sharing amongst law enforcement and visa agencies purports to enhance security, it also leads to difficult immigration complications based on unfounded allegations or incorrect derogatory information. Having a strategic plan to address these issues, both on a personal and professional level, is critical to any company, family, or individual who plans to travel or do business in the United States or internationally.

Nixon Peabody adds ex-ICE director amid white collar swoon

Bloomberg Law | September 04, 2019

This article highlights the arrival of Washington DC Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner John Sandweg, a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

John comes to NP after leading his own boutique firm, Frontier Solutions. He joins NP along with five team members: counsel Rachel Winkler, associate Catherine Ingram Hunstad, legal assistant Tracey Ford, and investigative directors Jerry Robinette and Miguel Unzueta. John and his five colleagues will spearhead our firm’s new Cross-Border Risks team.

This article also quotes Washington DC Government Investigations and White Collar Defense partner Adam Tarosky on current trends in False Claims Act prosecutions.


Rachel S. Winkler


Washington, DC

Phone: 202-585-8027

Fax: 833-607-9403

University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, J.D.

Arizona State University Barrett Honors College, B.S.


District of Columbia


Rachel Winkler received a 2021 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recognition for Immigration Law.

  • Founding member and past-president of the Military Spouse JD Network
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Serving on American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National 2022-2023 Committee
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