Fred Vacca, immigration judge

Wednesday, February 16, 2011; 5:22 PM

Fred Vacca, a federal lawyer who served on the Board of Immigration Appeals as an appellate judge for nearly two decades before his retirement in 2000, died Feb. 5 of a heart attack at his home in Silver Spring. He was 68.

Mr. Vacca was a staff lawyer for the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Federal Communications Commission before joining the Justice Department in 1975. He served as a staff lawyer at the Board of Immigration Appeals and an executive assistant to the board chairman before becoming a member of the board in 1981.

The board is the federal government's highest administrative agency that reviews immigration cases. As a member of the board, Mr. Vacca was an appellate judge responsible for reviewing the decisions of immigration judges in deportation and other cases.

Fred William Vacca was born in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He received bachelor's and law degrees from St. John's University in New York.

Mr. Vacca joined the Navy in 1965 as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. After three years of active duty, he served in the Navy Reserve until retiring as a captain in 1991.

He and his wife were past co-presidents of the old Columbia Road Citizens Association in Silver Spring.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Patricia Cliggett Vacca of Silver Spring; and two brothers.

- Emma Brown

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