“Nation of Welcome and Opportunity,” USCIS Says in New Mission Statement


A “nation of welcome and opportunity” – that’s what the United States would like the rest of the world to think. The United States is trying to shed the image of “exclusivity” the country has painted itself with, especially during the Trump era.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled this new mission statement projecting itself as a nation that welcomes opportunity with fairness, integrity, and respect for all those we serve.

The new mission statement stands in stark contrast to the action taken by the Trump administration, which in February 2018 removed reference to America as a “nation of immigrants” from the mission statement.

Under the Trump administration, USCIS has resorted to extreme scrutiny – for example, as part of a policy change, each visa extension – such as for H-1B visas, was treated as a new application . This had led to an increase in requests for additional documents (known as requests for evidence – RFE) which increased administrative costs for sponsoring employers and caused delays. Or in other cases, there was an outright denial of visa extensions on various grounds.

In April of last year, this was removed and USCIS resorted to its previous practice of deferring previous approvals when extending visas.

A USCIS statement said the new mission statement reflects feedback from its employees on the agency’s role, the Biden administration’s priorities, and Director Ur Jaddou’s vision of an inclusive and accessible agency.

“At its core, USCIS is about making decisions to families, businesses, workers, and those seeking refuge in our country on their applications, petitions, applications, and appeals. This new mission statement reflects the inclusiveness of our country and this agency. The United States is and will remain a welcoming nation that welcomes people from around the world seeking family reunification, employment or career opportunities, and humanitarian protection,” said Ur Jaddou, Director of USCIS.

Jaddou emphasized that “At USCIS, we know that every time we award an immigration or naturalization grant, we are promoting the opportunity to help us build a stronger America. And when we offer sanctuary to those in need of protection, we uphold our nation’s highest ideals.

Agency management says it will adopt a new, less hostile tone toward applicants. I expect this notion to take some time to trickle down to the day-to-day work of USCIS, but it’s great to see management’s position change.

She added that while USCIS is not a law enforcement agency, that job falls to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the line has been blurred over the years. “The role of USCIS should be to facilitate legal immigration to the United States for qualified applicants. Nothing else,” Doyle posted.

Although the term “immigrant nation” has not been reinstated, the new mission statement has a welcoming tone that promises fairness in the processing of immigration applications.