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USCIS Removes "Nation of Immigrants" from Its Mission Statement


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency responsible for granting citizenship to those in the process of becoming Americans, is removing a passage from its mission statement which refers to the United States as a “nation of immigrants.”

The agency’s new statement as it appears on their website reads:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

The following is USCIS’s previous mission statement:

“USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.”

The removal of the phrase “nation of immigrants” was announced to agency staff in an e-mail from Director L. Francis Cissna. In the letter, Cissna said, “I believe this simple, straightforward statement clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people.”

Additionally, he criticized the use of “customers” in the previous mission statement and stressed that the “use of the term leads to the erroneous belief that applicants and petitioners, rather than the American people, are whom we ultimately serve.” Cissna did not explain his reasoning for eliminating the words “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.”

The change is consistent with the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. Ever since President Donald Trump took office, he has taken steps to crack down on undocumented immigrants and propose an end to the diversity visa lottery and so-called “chain migration.”

Human rights organizations have stated that removing the immigration line from the mission statement does not change the fact that the United States was built by immigrants. But the USCIS change reflects Cissna’s focus on “fairness, lawfulness, efficiency, as well as protecting American workers and safeguarding the homeland.”

Contact our San Jose immigration attorney at Verma Law Firm for more information today.

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