Changes to USCIS Mission Statement – “Nation of Immigrants” Removed from Agency’s Mission

February 28th, 2018 by SRW Lawyers

This past Thursday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated mission statement omitting a line that described America as “a nation of immigrants,” among other changes.

The previous mission statement, which was adopted in 2005, read:

“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 updated mission statement 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.”

While the agency has taken the position that the mission statement was updated to better reflect their commitment to serving American citizens, the seemingly anti-immigrant and/or anti-immigration undertones of the new statement have not gone unnoticed. The change has been criticized by many including the previous Director of USCIS, León Rodríguez. In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, Rodríguez pointedly states:

“The new mission statement is a faithful articulation of the Trump administration’s policies grounded in the view that immigrants, with a few carefully defined exceptions, are a threat and burden to the United States, rather than the very essence of what has made our country a beacon and an example to the rest of the world.”

What Rodríguez is referring to is the Trump administration’s recently released four-pillar framework for immigration reform and “America First” agenda.  As a refresher those four pillars include: allocating $25 billion for the border wall system, limiting family-based immigration sponsorships to spouses and minor children and eliminating all other categories, ending the Diversity Visa Lottery program, and providing legal status for DACA recipients. The White House’s full briefing statement on the four pillars can be found here.

Despite the disappointing changes to USCIS’ mission statement – America has and will always be a nation of immigrations and viable U.S. immigration options still exist. If you have questions regarding the implications of USCIS’ new statement and/or coming to the US temporarily or permanently please reach out to us.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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