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USCIS changes its mission statement

Immigration Services

Immigrants have many reasons for coming to America. They may be in search of better jobs, better opportunities for their children or a place of refugee from their war-torn or oppressive homeland. Therefore, when the federal government makes any changes to its policies regarding immigration, these should be carefully noted by those in Kentucky and nationwide.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal entity that grants immigrants visas and approves immigrants for naturalization. The agency recently made changes to its mission statement. Previously, the mission statement included language stating that America is a "nation of immigrants." Now the mission statements states that the USCIS "administers the nation's lawful immigration system." In addition, with regards to visa applicants, these individuals will no longer be referred to as "customers" as they were in the previous mission statement.

According to the director of the USCUS, the mission statement was updated so that it defined the role the USCIS has with regards to lawful immigration in a clear and straightforward way. The director also stated that the updated mission statement reflected the commitment the agency has to the American people.

Those opposed to these changes believe that America was built by immigrants, and that the new language dehumanizes refugees and immigrants. Proponents of the changes believe these changes show that the agency will first and foremost serve U.S. citizens and the interests of our nation.

As of 2017, approximately 20 percent of immigrants worldwide reside in the United States. In 2016, this accounted to 13.5 percent of the entire population of the United States. Therefore, any changes to policy or missions in the agencies processing those seeking U.S. permanent residency should be carefully monitored. It is important that immigrants' rights are upheld, and that those seeking citizenship are able to do so.

Source: USA Today, "America is no longer a 'nation of immigrants'," Kim Hjelmgaard and Alan Gomez, Feb. 23, 2018

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