Headline, Immigration

Work visa holders question new USCIS mission statement

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Logo credit: https://www.uscis.gov/

Indian families stuck in green card backlog wish the immigration agency would act on the welcoming image it’s trying to project

The USCIS announced a new mission statement on Feb 9 saying the immigration agency “upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.”

In contrast with the Trump administration, which in Feb 2018 removed the reference to America being a ‘nation of immigrants,’ the new statement adds the phrase “welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect.”

“At its core, USCIS is about delivering decisions to families, businesses, workers, and those seeking refuge in our country on their applications, petitions, requests, and appeals,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou announcing the new mission statement.

Read: USCIS opens H-1B registration for FY 2023 on March 1 (January 29, 2022)

“This new mission statement reflects the inclusive character of both our country and this agency,” she said. “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.”

“The work of USCIS makes the possibility of America a reality for immigrants, the communities and economies they join, and the nation as a whole,” Jaddou said.

“At USCIS, we know that every time we grant an immigration or naturalization benefit, we are fostering the opportunity to help us build a stronger America,” she said. “And when we offer refuge to those in need of protection we are living up to our nation’s highest ideals.”

“USCIS is committed to ensuring that the immigration system we administer is accessible and humane,” Jaddou said.

“As we look towards the future, my commitment will remain the same – USCIS will continue to serve the public with respect and fairness, and lead with integrity to reflect America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility today and for generations to come,” she added.

A USCIS press release said the new mission statement is a reflection of  feedback from its  workforce, the priorities of the Biden Administration, and Director Jaddou’s vision for an inclusive and accessible agency.

Last year, USCIS leadership had asked employees to submit words that they felt best illustrated the agency’s work, it said.

Read: 23 US lawmakers ask USCIS to fix spousal work permit backlog (December 22, 2021)

Soon after the new mission statement was announced, netizens began reacting to it, with many work-based visa holders questioning the purpose of a mere change in wording when on ground the situation remained the same.

A Twitter user by the name @freedomstrokes replied: “We’re certain that it’ll do nothing to change the day-to-day operations.”

Austin, Texas based Sharma family who have been stuck in the green card backlog thinks that rather than words, the agency should be working towards acting on the image they are trying to project.

Another Twitter user wrote: “The priority date for family visa never moves forward (the F1 category, the date has not moved forward for months) and you claim that you stand for family unification? This mission statement is a travesty.”

Nilam Shah who is an active member of many immigration groups says, “What we have been demanding time and again is that the agency understands the acute difficulty those of us who are stuck in a green card backlog are facing.”

“We fear for our children’s security to live and study in this country, we fear family separation, we live with the instability of what our future may hold every year,” Shah said.

Read: USCIS Announces New Agency Mission Statement (February 9, 2022)

“We cannot make big financial decisions… this is not the life we really imagined for our kids,” she said. “So, the need of the hour is real, concrete steps and we are waiting to hear more on that.”

“If despite this statement, families continue to get separated, documented dreamers have to give up on their dreams then what would the statement hold for them?” Shah asked.

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