Highsmith, AnnMarie


AnnMarie R. Highsmith is the Executive Assistant Commissioner (EAC) of Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She oversees a diverse portfolio of trade enforcement, security, and facilitation to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risks to public health and safety.  Her work ranges from enforcing over 500 U.S. trade laws and overseeing 14 trade agreements, to directing CBP’s seven Priority Trade Issues in collaboration with 49 partner government agencies.


From 2013 to 2021, Highsmith served as the Deputy Chief Counsel for CBP, where she was the chief operating officer of one of the premier legal offices in government, managing and directing a staff of 400 legal professionals in 31 offices nationwide. In 2020, she served as Acting Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In that capacity, she provided effective leadership for the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring public safety and the security of the national food supply chain, while protecting American jobs. 


Highsmith joined the Senior Executive Service (SES) as the Associate Chief Counsel (Trade and Finance), CBP, in Washington, D.C. In that role, she served as the principal legal advisor for CBP on all matters involving customs laws, as they impact on trade, and a broad range of fiscal matters. In 2013, she served as the Acting Associate General Counsel for General Law, in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, providing leadership and timely, practical legal advice and guidance to successfully implement the over $3 billion sequestration. A native Californian, Highsmith began her legal career in 1992 as a Staff Attorney with the U.S. Customs Service, at the Office of the Regional Counsel, in Long Beach, California.


Highsmith received her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1992, and her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 1988. She is a 2011 graduate of the Harvard University Senior Managers in Government program. In 2017, Highsmith was awarded a Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award.

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