The Trump administration is redefining—and undermining—Citizenship and Immigration Services


Since President Trump has taken office, the USCIS has been a special focus of his administration’s attention. From striking the phrase “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants” from its mission statement, to eliminating the word “customers” to describe the people the agency serves, the result seems to be a regression to red tape, long processing waits, and an atmosphere of hostility towards immigrants. According to USCIS Director Lee Cissna, whose own mother immigrated from Peru, the removal of such language is meant to reflect that USCIS serves the American people, not the immigrants whose cases it processes.

Under President Obama, progress was made toward making the USCIS more efficient and less complicated. For example, it took just six months for a lawful permanent resident to naturalize. Under President Trump, it takes more than a year. Prospective immigrants are even having a more difficult time getting assistance from the USCIS help lines, including a special line dedicated to those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. What were once helpful resources have become time sinks that offer little in the way of assistance or information.

Because Congress has not advanced comprehensive immigration reform, and seemingly cannot agree on how to make the immigration process more resilient or more efficient, President Trump has had free range to make changes within his power as he sees fit. These changes are especially detrimental for an immigration system that is so backlogged, extending USCIS processing times across the board. It appears that the administration’s purpose is to deliberately cause delays, frustrating applicants and even deterring prospective immigrants from applying in the first place. In effect, they seek to build an invisible wall to coexist with the physical one that the administration is bent on building.

We oppose all efforts by this or any administration to circumvent the rights and processes our laws grant naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, and anyone else seeking legal status in the United States. Please call our office at 414-533-5000 to set up a consultation.

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