Tim Belsan ’05 moves into new U.S. Department of Justice role

Nov 19, 2020
Tim Belsan

Newman University alumnus Tim Belsan ’05 is breaking new ground having been recently appointed the inaugural director of the Enforcement Section within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation.

The primary focus of his section’s work is the prosecution of fraud by individuals who commit various crimes in order to obtain immigration benefits. This includes concealing war crimes and human rights offenses, support of terrorist organizations, sexual abuse of minors and other serious crimes.

Belsan graduated from Newman with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in journalism. He continued his education at Washburn University School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctorate in 2009 and graduated at the top of his class.

He came to Newman knowing he would get a quality education while playing basketball but he wasn’t sure exactly where his career path would end up. He said he found a passion for the written word during his sophomore year due in large part to the investment of professors Bryan Dietrich and Audrey Curtis Hane.

He stayed active at Newman as editor in chief of the student-run newspaper, the Vantage, and the Sheridan Edwards Review, now known as the Coelacanth Literary Journal.

He supported his alma mater by serving as president of the Newman University National Alumni Board of Directors in 2011-12.

“I knew by the end of my junior year at Newman that I wanted to pursue law school,” said Belsan. “Career Services and professor Larry Heck helped me with that and they even took a group of us to Lawrence, Kansas, to visit the University of Kansas School of Law.

“The education I received at Newman set me up very well for this career path and I’ve been very blessed. I can look at things that led to my current work — a lot of that is attributable to the moral and ethical framework that Newman reinforced.”

Belsan joined the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011 after two years clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. Since joining the Justice Department, Belsan has become a recognized expert in the litigation of fraud and national security cases and has personally handled cases in more than 30 states and in 11 of the 13 federal courts of appeals.

As the director of the Enforcement Section, Belsan joins the ranks of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service, the federal government’s civil service equivalent to general officer ranks in the U.S. Armed Forces.

He believes Newman staff and faculty work hard to encourage and foster a commitment to justice and service in its students. He added that whatever field or career graduates choose, there is always a way to make a difference.

“I have sought to live out those values via my public service, both with the federal courts and now with the Department of Justice. Sometimes our cases are the only measure of justice a victim may receive, particularly if the crime occurred decades ago and can no longer be prosecuted criminally. Those are among the most rewarding cases for me.”

Belsan’s passion for defending the integrity of naturalization is what motivates him each day.

“Naturalization is an incredible privilege that many individuals spend decades working to secure. My daily work is motivated by a commitment to respect the dignity of those individuals and to ensure that this important benefit is not obtained unlawfully.”

His dedication and hard work led to recognition by the U.S. Attorney General with the department’s Distinguished Service Award on two separate occasions, most recently in 2019, for the work he and his team did last fall on a human rights case, prosecuting a war criminal who lied to U.S. immigration officials regarding his crimes during the 1990s Balkans conflicts.

Tim Belsan (far right) poses with Attorney General William Barr (far left) and others after accepting the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Belsan is thankful for his time and education at Newman. He said the journey he started there has led to great things and he’s looking forward to being able to continue giving back and transforming society.

“I believe the incredible, personalized education I received at Newman directly contributed to my success in law school and in my career and it has prepared me for whatever opportunities and challenges may come my way. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without Newman.”