U.S. Citizenship Agency Returns to Welcome Mission Statement

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. agency that oversees legal immigration services is backtracking on its mission statement to designate the country as “a nation of welcome and opportunity.”

The new statement unveiled Wednesday by Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ur Jaddou is symbolic but somewhat restores previous language after the agency in 2018 removed a reference to the United States as a “nation of ‘immigrant’.

“This new mission statement reflects the inclusiveness of our country and this agency,” Jaddou, whose parents are immigrants from Iraq and Mexico, said in an emailed statement. “The United States is and will remain a welcoming nation that welcomes people from around the world seeking family reunification, employment or career opportunities, and humanitarian protection.”

The change was first reported by CNN.

Immigration advocates applauded the new language and said it needed to reframe the agency’s mission.

“The agency is right to reframe its mission and emphasize dignity and fairness,” Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement. “In a nation that depends on immigrants, but where too many are stuck in legal immigration stalemates, the administration must strive to uphold those values.”

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, chairman of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said the change to the declaration was a “significant step in the right direction”.

Jaddou said the agency asked employees to submit words they felt described their work, and the new mission statement was the result of feedback, as well as his vision for the agency and priorities. of President Joe Biden’s administration.

Prior to the latest change, the mission statement said the agency administered “the nation’s legal immigration system” by “adjudicating applications for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and respecting our values”.

The Biden administration has received heavy criticism from both right and left for the sudden increase in the arrival of migrants at the US-Mexico border and for continuing to deport migrants under a pandemic-related authority invoked to the first time by former President Donald Trump. By order of a judge, the federal government also continues to keep asylum seekers in Mexico waiting for hearings in US court.

But Biden ditched a Trump-era rule that would have denied green cards to immigrants who use public benefits, scrapped border wall projects and eliminated a travel ban on visitors from several predominantly Muslim countries.

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