U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, altered its mission statement on Thursday by taking out a reference to USA as a “nation of immigrants”. Jonathan Withington, USCIS Chief of Media Relations, said the new mission statement is “effective immediately.”
The new 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.”
The previous mission statement 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 agency said the new mission statement focuses on the priorities of “fairness, lawfulness and efficiency.”
USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna defended the changes in an email to staff on Thursday:
“In particular, referring to applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits, and the beneficiaries of such applications and petitions, as ‘customers’ promotes an institutional culture that emphasizes the ultimate satisfaction of applicants and petitioners, rather than the correct adjudication of such applications and petitions according to the law,” he wrote.
“The statement speaks for itself and clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and commitment we have to the American people,” he added.
USCIS is the administrative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, which includes appellate review. It is the lead U.S. agency tasked with granting citizenship to would-be Americans.
Sen. Patrick Leahy Verified account @SenatorLeahy: “The President can erase “nation of immigrants” from the #USCIS mission statement, but he cannot erase our nation’s legacy or our shared #American values. Thankfully, both will long outlast Pres. #Trump.”