David Swaim is the firm’s Managing Partner and Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Swaim has been the Managing Partner of Tidwell, Swaim & Associates since 1991. He began work with the firm as a Law Clerk in 1985 and became an Associate Attorney in 1986. Mr. Swaim has successfully represented over 20,000 clients in immigration proceedings, in all areas of immigration law. His primary practice is employment, business, and investment cases. He developed many of the most innovative techniques for H-1 and labor certification cases and created the immigration procedures at dozens of companies such as i2 Technologies, Microtune and PDX. He is one of only three attorneys in Texas authorized to represent both the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M System. He represents all of the Texas A&M campuses as well as UTD and UTEP at the University of Texas System. He also represents many other colleges and universities such as Baylor University and Texas Christian University. Mr. Swaim represents employers in all industries and sizes from start-ups to Fortune 500, including technology, research, accounting, architecture, marketing/advertising, communications, healthcare and engineering. He has represented many employers in the I-9 audit process (as well as other employment-based audits) including the establishment of I-9 compliance policies and programs; employer-initiated audits to test compliance and actual audits conducted by the government.
For the first five years of his practice, Mr. Swaim concentrated his practice in the area of deportation and immigration litigation. Since 1991 he has supervised every deportation case handled by the Firm and remains the responsible attorney for all deportation/removal cases and all cases involving litigation, including administrative appeals, actions in Federal Courts, case negotiations with ICE and USCIS, and applications for relief such as asylum, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, and other complex litigation issues. He works with select criminal defense attorneys throughout Texas on issues involving crimes committed by non-citizens, which include consultations throughout the criminal process for immigration consequences, representation in Immigration Court for individuals with past criminal charges or convictions, and habeas corpus relief in State and Federal Court for past criminal conduct. He has either personally represented or supervised cases for over 3,000 individuals in removal/deportation proceedings, asylum, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal and other applications for relief from deportation.
Mr. Swaim has also successfully represented over 5,000 individuals in family immigration cases and naturalization/US citizenship matters. These cases include marriage (permanent residence, K-3 non-immigrants, and K-1 fiancés), parents of citizens, children (as derivatives, immediate relatives, adoptions, and stepchildren), as well as removal of conditions cases involving joint petitioners and marriages which have terminated. Included in these cases are appeals of denied marriage petitions, successfully overturning findings of marriage fraud by USCIS and Immigration Courts, as well separated and abused spouses. For naturalization/citizenship cases Mr. Swaim has successfully represented thousands of new US citizens through the entire naturalization process including many complex cases involving criminal backgrounds, false document claims, and underlying problems with the original grant of permanent residence.
Mr. Swaim has provided over 300 immigration seminars to international students and faculty at colleges, universities, and seminaries in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Mississippi. He gives seminars at the University of Texas School of Engineering in Austin, Texas A&M University at College Station, the University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M at Commerce and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Mr. Swaim has been Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1991. He is licensed in the State of Texas to practice in all state courts, the Northern District of Texas Federal District Courts and the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. His practice includes cases with the Immigration Service, Department of State, Department of Labor, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Administrative Appeals Office and the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Southern Methodist University School of Law.
Mr. Swaim is the founder and past Chairman of the GlobalHR Professional Emphasis Group of the Dallas Human Resources Management Association (DallasHR), a past member of the Board of Directors of DFW International, and a past member of the Board of Directors of Bent Tree Country Club.
Among Mr. Swaim’s many accomplishments in these areas since 1986:
- In 2017, Mr. Swaim won an important case in Federal court which overturned a denial of an I-140 petition under the EB-1(1) Extraordinary Ability category. The analysis used by the Court is also applicable to EB-1(2) Outstanding Professors and Researcher cases. The Court ruled that USCIS cannot apply the second step analysis of whether a person has reached the very top of their field of endeavor when evaluating whether the petitioner has met three of the ten regulatory criteria. To see the Court’s important decision, read here.
- Won an important case before the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that helped establish the rule in Federal Court that the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution and its “fundamental fairness” doctrine applies to deportation proceedings and all Immigration Judges. This case also helped establish the principle that Immigration Officers who testify in court may be forced to prove their expertise on the subject about which they are testifying. Hernandez-Garza v. INS, 882 F.2d 945 (5th Cir. 1989). Read case here.
- Obtained a Court Order from the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas that the USCIS is required by law to follow its own regulations as published regardless of the burden which it may place on the agency. This case involved the failure of USCIS to grant work authorization under the 90-day requirement as mandated by USCIS regulation and which applies to all work authorization requests filed with form I-765.
- Successfully represented over 50 asylum applicants from El Salvador in deportation proceedings. In all cases, the Firm’s client received either asylum (and later permanent residence), and some received permanent residence through labor certification and an employer sponsor.
- Successfully represented (in deportation proceedings) the first habeas corpus case in Texas for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in state criminal proceedings which was approved on appeal by the Texas Criminal Courts (by criminal defense attorney Craig Jett) and applied in deportation proceedings. This case formed the basis for hundreds of cases throughout Texas and other states for individuals in deportation proceedings to reopen prior criminal proceedings because they were not properly advised of the immigration consequences of their plea in those criminal proceedings. Mr. Swaim has also appeared as an expert witness in many criminal hearings for writs of habeas corpus based ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
- Won asylum for a gay Iranian citizen convicted of a serious crime in the US.
- Obtained permanent residence for a family from Poland who had been denied asylum in the US many years before but remained eligible for permanent status through their US citizen daughter. The family was protected from deportation and ultimately received their green cards after appealing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Successfully represented dozens of clients in mandamus actions in Federal District Court to force USCIS to timely adjudicate pending applications for adjustment of status, naturalization/US citizenship, and work authorization (including students at a North Texas university).
- Obtained the termination of deportation proceedings for clients arrested and detained for violation of status pursuant to the NSEERs program initiated after 9/11, which included successful arguments for writs of habeas corpus in Federal Court and successful adjustment of status applications in Immigration Court.
- Successfully appealed the denial of naturalization applicant who was denied because he innocently voted in an election since he was given a voter registration card while a permanent resident. The case was appealed to Federal District Court and ultimately dismissed by Joint Motion of our Firm and the US District Attorney representing the CIS. The naturalization case was approved several months later.
- Obtained the admission of a Canadian manager of a multi-national oil services company who we denied admission and excluded for a minor marijuana conviction over twenty years before the attempted entry. The appeal to Federal District Court in Houston was successful when the District Court Judge personally called the US Attorney for ICE and requested the case be resolved by admitting the Canadian citizen without the need for the further order from the Court. The US Attorney and ICE complied with this request from the Judge within two days.
- Prevented the deportation of a Pakistan national who had created a small business in the US and applied for L-1A status which was initially approved and then denied during the extension process. The Firm was retained to handle the case after denial of the extension by the Administrative Appeals Office of the USCIS. Mr. Swaim filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court which resulted in a court order to USCIS to approve the L-1A extension. Mr. Swaim also later obtained a court order which forced USCIS to change the status to E-2, and the client was ultimately granted permanent residence through the same business.