This week the USCIS issued a new mission statement. Generally, organizations issue mission statements so that audience members, clients, customers, or anyone interested in the work of the organization can understand what they do—but perhaps more importantly the ideals and the beliefs that the organization hold as an institution. The USCIS sought to redo their mission statement in an attempt to distance themselves from the mission statement that was in place during the Trump Administration, a time that has largely been characterized as unfriendly and adverse toward immigrant communities. That mission statement largely talked about protecting American values, following lawful procedures, but wasn’t all that sympathetic toward immigrants requesting benefits.
The new mission statement was formed using USCIS employee feedback, which asked several hundred agency employees in a survey words they thought better described the work the agency was doing.
The new mission statement reads as follows: “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.”
The director of the USCIS, Ur Jaddou, says that the new mission statement is more reflective of the agencies work, and its ultimate purpose of delivering decisions to families, workers, and those seeking refuge in the United States.
However, although the new mission statement sounds good, it doesn’t actually impose any new policies with respect to discretionary adjudications or processing times. Wait times have not changed even though a new mission statement has been issued. However, it does reinforce a certain agency wide ethos that the United States is a welcoming place, and that adjudications might be conducted with more benefit of the doubt given to those seeking an immigration benefit.