Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Citizenship agency removes description of USA as 'nation of immigrants'

People wave U.S. flags during a 2017 naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center People wave U.S. flags during a 2017 naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Jae C. Hong AP
Patty Aguilar | 23 February, 2018, 12:31

The new mission statement was announced via email to the employees of the agency by the USCIS director Francis Cissna, reported The Intercept.

Immigrants wait in line to become USA citizens at a naturalization ceremony on February 2, 2018 in New York City.

The federal agency that oversees legal immigration to the US has removed the words "nation of immigrants" from its mission statement, as the Trump administration moves to put Americans as the top priority.

"We should not forget that under the discarded mission statement, the integrity and national security functions of U.S.C.I.S. grew - dramatically so - showing that we could be both a welcoming nation and a safe one", Mr. Rodríguez said.

The USICS's former statement, which is no longer on its website, included the line "a nation of immigrants" and read, "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", the former statement read. Use of the term leads to the erroneous belief that applicants and petitioners, rather than the American people, are whom we ultimately serve. The Donald Trump-era USCIS has even amended its mission statement to stress the point. "The updated policy guidance aligns with President Trump's Buy American and Hire American Executive Order and the directive to protect the interests of United States workers", it said. The director highlighted, specifically, the removal of the word "customers" from the new mission statement, making the case that the word gave a false impression.

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Cissna did not explain his rational for dropping the words "America's promise as a nation of immigrants". However, it does show how the Trump administration will "stop at nothing to demonize and dehumanize immigrants and refugees". It also processes citizenship applications, which have surged since President Trump won the election in 2016.

On Thursday, USCIS also published a seven-page policy memorandum that has made it even more hard for Indians applying for H-1B visas.

At present, the U.S. has a cap of 65,000 visas for the general category under H-1B visas and allows a further 20,000 people who have a United States master's degree from an accredited institution to also apply.

"The agency's new mission statement was developed and debuted within the agency by USCIS Director Cissna during his first conference with USCIS senior leadership from around the world", a USCIS official told The Hill.

The memo noted: "Based on the agency's experience in administering the H-1B program, USCIS recognizes that significant employer violations-such as paying less than the required wage, benching employees (not paying workers the required wage while they wait for projects or work) and having employees perform non-specialty occupation jobs-may be more likely to occur when petitioners place employees at third-party worksites".

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