The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced its new mission statement stating that America is a nation of “welcome and possibility.”
The entire statement is, “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” The USCIS oversees lawful immigration for the United States. This new statement is seen as returning the USCIS to adjudicating employment authorization documents visa applications, as well as dealing with other immigration benefits. The USCIS states that they will act with honesty, respect, integrity, and courtesy in all of their actions.
This statement seems to indicate that the USCIS is taking a different view of its mission under the current administration than it had during the previous administration. The USCIS removed the words “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement during the previous administration. It was also more difficult to obtain visa extensions under the previous administration, such as requests for a visa extension for H-1B visas where every visa extension was treated as a new application. Treating these visa extensions as new applications meant that additional documentation was requested. This increased costs for the employer sponsoring the applicants and caused delays. Additionally, in some cases, the visa extensions were simply denied. However, this practice ended last April, and the USCIS returned to the practice of deferring to previous approvals for visa extensions.
The new mission statement is intended to be more inclusive. The director of the USCIS stated, “At its core, USCIS is about delivering decisions to families, businesses, workers, and those seeking refuge in our country on their applications, petitions, requests, and appeals. This new mission statement reflects the inclusive character of both our country and this agency. The US is and will remain a welcoming nation that embraces people from across the world who seek family reunification, employment or professional opportunities, and humanitarian protection.”
A number of people, including immigration attorneys, approve of this change for the USCIS. The term “nation of immigrants” is not included in the new mission statement. However, the new mission statement does have a more welcoming tone.
The USCIS is still being criticized for the considerable delays in processing a variety of applications for immigration benefits. The director of the USCIS has stated that every applicant deserves a timely decision and that the USCIS is taking steps to deal with the case processing times. However, he also acknowledges that there is still a lot that needs to be done and that it will take time due to the large backlog.
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