USCIS Revises its Mission Statement and Removes Reference to Providing a Service
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 18, 2018 – The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new mission statement on February 22, 2018 that no longer mentions the provision “services” as part of the mission of the agency. Those seeking services include U.S. Citizens and foreign nationals as petitioners and applicants. The revised statement places emphasis instead on serving “the American people” and ensuring ineligible individuals or those who “would do us harm” are not given immigration benefits.
USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna announced the revisions in a letter emailed to agency employees. He claimed that using the word “customers” to refer to applicants gave the false implication that USCIS serves others rather than Americans. Cissna also said it incorrectly “promotes an institutional culture” in an agency that should not be viewed in a commercial or business sense.
“The USCIS’ revised mission statement removes reference to petitioners for U.S. immigration benefits and foreign national applicants as its customers. This is a strange shift for a federal agency that by law is a user fee funded agency where petitioner and foreign national applicants pay fees for services,” said Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
“USCIS mission is to adjudicate benefits and thereby provide services to those who seek and pay for them,” said Rabinowitz. “By removing the word ‘customer’ from its mission statement, USCIS shifts its focus away from providing a service, despite the agency’s name: the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. And the people that pay fees for services are its customers, no matter what USCIS says. How well it does that job determines just what level of service U.S. citizens, U.S. employers and foreign nationals alike receive.”
The revised mission statement also shifts the focus to protecting the homeland by removing a phrase that referred to the historically accurate statement that the United States is a “nation of immigrants.” Cissna’s letter said the new statement explains USCIS’s role in the U.S. immigration system while reflecting the agency’s “commitment to the American people.”