Posted on February 27, 2018

Immigration Agency Removes ‘Nation of Immigrants’ from Its Mission Statement

Maria Perez and Carlos Ballesteros, Newsweek, February 22, 2018

The USICS’s former statement, which is no longer on its website, included the line “a nation of immigrants.” It formerly 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 change was first reported by online news publication The Intercept.

In his email to staff, Cissna wrote that the updated mission statement is “straightforward” and “defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and the commitment we have to the American people.”

The director also noted that the new change removes the word customers because it is a misinterpretation of their role. {snip}

“All applicants and petitioners should, of course, always be treated with the greatest respect and courtesy, but we can’t forget that we serve the American people,” the director wrote.

In an email to Newsweek, USCIS officials wrote that the White House did not instruct the agency to change its statement. The change has been approved by the secretary of homeland security, USCIS noted.


Human rights organizations have said that removing the immigration line from the mission statement does not alter the fact that the U.S. was built by immigrants. However, it does show how the Trump administration will “stop at nothing to demonize and dehumanize immigrants and refugees,” according to Human Rights First.


Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Newsweek that it’s obvious the Trump administration is continuing to divide immigrants from American-born citizens.

“It’s sending a message perfectly in line with what the administration has said and done so far, which is trying to set immigrants apart from other people in America — to paint them as a law enforcement issue as opposed to real individuals with a variety of real and valid concerns and claims,” Jadwat said.