U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this week announced a new mission statement - one that putatively makes the country sound more welcoming than the previous statement had. The statement reads:
“USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.”
This is the agency's third new mission statement, and its second in four years. Its original mission statement, launched in 2005, 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."
Under the Trump government, though, the agency took on a more hardline approach, and in 2018 changed its mission statement to the more legalistic and less friendly-sounding: "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."
That change came in tandem with increasingly restrictive policies that affected the ability of foreign nationals to secure work visas or even enter the country, drawing backlash from business groups. More recently, the Biden administration has been attempting to reverse these restrictions, with USCIS' new mission statement apparently the latest move to make the US look more friendly to arrivals from abroad.
USCIS Director Ur Mendoza Jaddou said that the new mission statement is meant to reflect the "inclusive character" of both the country and the agency.
"The United States is and will remain a welcoming nation that embraces people from across the world who seek family reunification, employment or professional opportunities, and humanitarian protection," she stated. "USCIS is committed to ensuring that the immigration system we administer is accessible and humane."