By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Biden administration officials replaced a Trump-era mission statement Feb. 8 with a shorter one, emphasizing “America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility.”
Trump administration officials had put their touch on the mission statement for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more commonly known for its USCIS acronym, causing furor in 2018 after omitting the phrase “a nation of immigrants.”
After the 2018 changes, the Trump officials said the agency administered “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.”
In announcing a new statement, USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou said Feb. 8 that “the United States is and will remain a welcoming nation that embraces people from across the world.”
“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,” Jaddou said.
The agency, under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, grants immigration benefits and promotes citizenship, processing applications for family petitions, work permits, permanent residency cards, humanitarian benefits and naturalization services.
“We strive to provide a timely decision, be it yes or no, and with the utmost respect, to every petitioner or person who seeks a benefit from USCIS, be it a U.S. citizen seeking to reunite with a family member, a U.S. business attempting to hire a skilled foreign national, a lawful permanent resident seeking naturalization, or a person who hopes to find a place of refuge from persecution,” Jaddou said.
While Jaddou said the new statement better reflects a “commitment to an immigration system that is accessible and humane,” many have recently criticized the administration for keeping in place some restrictive measures from the Trump administration that keep migrants out.