Citizenship Agency Stops Calling US 'Nation of Immigrants'

Indian companies likely to be hit as Trump administration makes H-1B visa approval tougher

The government agency in charge of granting citizenship to prospective Americans has removed a passage from its mission statement that describes the United States as a nation of immigrants. Not anymore. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has eliminated the phrase from its mission statement, according to an internal memo.

USCIS' decision to change its mission statement "reflects the director's guiding principles for the agency", agency officials told TheDCNF. In the previous mission statement, "America's promise as a nation of immigrants" served as the first sentence.

Cissna stated that calling immigrants and those who support immigration benefits "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". Cissna's email also confirmed that USCIS would no longer use the word "customer" to describe immigrants applying for green cards, visas, or applications for naturalization, arguing the word gave a false impression of the goal of the USCIS.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

Apparently, the United States is no longer the "nation of immigrants".

Immigrant and refugee organizations blasted the change and criticized the Trump Administration for harboring "insidious racism". The agency has increased scrutiny of visa applications for foreign workers whom US companies seek to hire; it has changed the asylum application process to discourage people from seeking safe haven in the United States; and it has added steps to the process for foreigners already in the country to obtain legal permanent residency, or a green card. The director also said that the emphasis should be on them serving the American people.

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Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of petitioners for immigrants are USA citizens petitioning for family members (or American businesses petitioning for employees). They are as American as anyone else.

USCIS was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, under the Department of Homeland Security. But immigrant rights advocates have been anxious about the agency.

L. Francis Cissna was sworn in as Director of USCIS on October 8, 2017. Most recently, he served as the Director, Immigration Policy within the DHS Office of Policy, during which time he was selected for a detail to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he worked on immigration-related legislation.

There are already indications that the new leadership is encouraging applications to be processed more slowly and with more scrutiny.

Trump announced he was scrapping Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program established by former President Barack Obama that provided protection to adults who came to children.

"The new mission statement also has the support of the secretary of Homeland Security", it added.

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