The federal agency that oversees legal immigration to the U.S. has removed the words “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement, as the Trump administration moves to put Americans as the top priority.
The new statement reads: “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.”
Francis Cissna, director of USCIS, said the new statement better reflects the agency’s duty to Americans.
“The American people, through Congress, have entrusted USCIS with the stewardship of our legal immigration programs that allow foreign nationals to visit, work, live, and seek refuge in the United States. We are also 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 in a statement.
The change was first reported by the Intercept.
USCIS’s mission has always been complicated. During the Obama administration some agency leaders called immigrants their “customers,” drawing a rebuke from congressional Republicans who said their customers were American taxpayers and voters.
Mr. Cissna, who was confirmed as the agency’s director late last year, moved quickly to assert the focus on Americans.
USCIS officials said he debuted the mission statement during his first conference with agency leaders from around the world. The officials said the new statement highlights fairness, protection of American workers and the belief that the agency has a national security role, as well as an immigration role.