The Biden administration has removed the words “lawful immigration” and “protecting Americans” from the official mission statement for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The statement now reads: “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.”
Noticeably missing from the statement were some changes that the agency made under President Trump including the aforementioned terms “lawful immigration,” “protecting Americans,” along with “securing the homeland.”
In 2018, the USCIS had removed the phrase “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement, instead focusing on their job to promote legal immigration “while protecting Americans.”
The statement since then read:
“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.”
Prior to the Trump administration’s edit in 2018, the immigration agency’s mission statement focused on new immigrants as “customers” and granting them “citizenship benefits,” while promising to secure “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.”
USCIS Director Ur Jaddou, in announcing the reversal of the Trump-era changes in a statement says, “the United States is and will remain a welcoming nation that embraces people from across the world.”
Illegal immigrants should, however, be dissuaded from entering the country illegally … by the USCIS.
In the ‘Core Values’ section of the USCIS web page, they do mention upholding “the security and integrity of the immigration system” which will convey “the privileges and advantages of lawful presence in the United States.”
Less than one month into his presidency, Biden initiated a new directive that would prohibit use of the terms “alien” or “illegal alien” in official immigration communications.
The preferred term under the new administration has been “non-citizens” or other “inclusive” terms.
Axios reported at the time, “The Trump administration referred to unauthorized immigrants as ‘illegal aliens’ and described border crossings as an ‘invasion.'”
The term “alien” is actually the legal definition as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act enacted in 1952.
It is used throughout, and is defined as a term that “means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.”
Lee Cissna, the former USCIS Director under Trump, had explained the importance of a mission statement that speaks about “lawfulness” and “safeguarding the homeland.”
“We are … responsible for ensuring that those who naturalize are dedicated to this country, share our values, assimilate into our communities, and understand their responsibility to help preserve our freedom and liberty,” he said.
Values and laws now yield to the “promise as a nation of welcome.”
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