The Senate Has Confirmed The First Woman Of Arab And Mexican Descent To Direct US Citizenship and Immigration Services

After Friday's confirmation by the Senate, Ur Jaddou will be the first woman and the first person of Mexican and Arab descent to be sworn into office as the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services.In two years, the agency hasn't had a Senate-confirmed head. Despite being integral to the immigration system, USCIS officers issue work permits, conduct initial asylum screenings to determine whether immigrants are eligible for protection in the US, and issue naturalizations and green cards.Jaddou is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Iraq. She was the USCIS lead attorney during the Obama administration."It is my honour to congratulate Ur Mendoza Jadou on her appointment as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, stated that Ur has over two decades of experience in the field of immigration policy and law. I look forward working with her to rebuild trust in our immigration system.After years of major changes under the Trump administration, Jaddou was confirmed. USCIS has shifted its focus away from screening and providing immigration benefits more efficiently to creating policies that prevent immigrants from entering the US at the border or elsewhere. It also proposed to charge asylum applications and limit the access to US border protections to those who are likely to use them.Legal issues also arose from the selection of acting heads to lead the agency in the second half of Trump's administration. A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled that Ken Ciuccinelli, former acting USCIS director, was not lawfully appointed to this job.The Biden administration has taken steps to erase that legacy. They have reversed previous restrictive immigration policies and changed the US citizenship test. And they have altered the way immigrant are discussed within the department, by not referring to them in the same way as aliens.The so-called wealth test, which was meant to limit green card holders to those who are likely to receive public benefits, was scrapped. Trump's proposal to increase the number of immigrant applicants who had to submit biometrics was dropped. It also increased the amount of personal information that the government could demand such as voiceprints, eye scans, DNA and photos for facial recognition.USCIS also faces serious economic challenges. In August, USCIS officials cancelled a planned furlough for more than 13,000 employees. This was supposed to stop the immigrant system. USCIS officials informed Congress that the agency was short of funds due to declining applications during the pandemic. They needed $1.2 billion.