Recently, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) changed the language in the agency’s Mission Statement. Previous language recognized that the United States is a “nation of immigrants”. USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna provided a statement to explain the reasoning behind the change.
New Mission Statement:
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.
Old Mission Statement:
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.
However, immigration advocates see this change as further demonstration that this administration does not recognize the importance of immigration to the history and growth of this nation. By ending DACA, restricting Refugees and ending TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras among other actions, this administration appears on a pathway to make more changes to the U.S. immigration landscape than any recent administration. The language of the Statue of Liberty from Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus so eloquently reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
It does not appear that USCIS’ change in Mission Statement adheres to this vision of America nor our long history of welcoming immigrants and their significant contributions.