America officially no longer seeks to be a “nation of immigrants.”
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency announced last week that they would be changing their mission statement. Particularly, the organization is removing language that recognized the United States of America as a “nation of immigrants.” This decision comes under the federal agency’s new director, L. Francis Cissna, appointed by President Trump in April 2017.
USCIS’s original mission statement 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.”
The new mission statement reads:
“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.”
Cissna explained that the statement reflects the importance of the protection of the American people: “I believe this simple, straightforward statement clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people,” the director wrote in a statement.
Cissna, the son of an immigrant who moved to the U.S. from Peru and the husband to a Middle Eastern immigrant, has faced criticism following the revisions made to the mission statement. Many people voiced their outrage on social media. “Cissna is the worst kind of immigrant. The kind that burns the bridge behind him,” wrote one person, while another wrote, “Francis Cissna’s mother was an immigrant from Peru and he grew up speaking Spanish at home. What is the Spanish word for ‘hypocrite’?”
The backlash may be due to Cissna’s message when he was a nominee for Director of USCIS. “The immigrant experience has always been a fundamental part of my family life, and I would be proud to carry that heritage with me,” the director told the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing last May. “Our family is literally a product of our nation’s legal immigration system. Should I be confirmed, these experiences will undoubtedly illuminate everything I do as USCIS director.”