Update, March 8, as of 11:05 am:

While this goes beyond the area of immigration law, it is worthy of note that HUD, the Housing and Urban Development agency, is reportedly planning to remove anti- discrimination language from its mission statement.


This would lend additional weight to my suggestion below that removing the words "nation of immigrants" from the USCIS mission statement is not meant merely to underscore that agency's mission of serving Americans (including H-1B employers!) as well as immigrants, but that it is also part of a larger administration policy of keeping America white.

No one can argue with the proposition that America has increasingly become a nation of non-white immigrants. It would be hard to believe that the Trump administration was unaware of this fact when the decision to remove the above phrase from the USCIS mission statement was made.

My original comments appear below

Certainly, no one could justly accuse Donald Trump's new USCIS Director, L. Frank Cissna, of holding any anti-immigrant bias. According to press reports, Cissna's own mother is an immigrant from Peru, and he speaks exclusively in Spanish with his own children.

And he was probably not aware of the fact that far right neo-Nazi groups such as the Daily Stormer website, as one of their cardinal principles, identify the term "nation of immigrants", which Cissna has now deleted from the USCIS Mission Statement, with people of color; and the term "Americans," whom the new Mission Statement vows to "protect", as including white people only.

I will not in this space provide the title of or a link to a recent vile, antisemitic article on the above neo-Nazi site which makes this distinction, because the article itself is beyond despicable. I am only mentioning it to illustrate the point that the term "nation of immigrants", with its long history of acceptance of diverse, initially unpopular, ethnic and religious groups, beginning with Germans in the time of their famous opponent, Benjamin Franklin, in the 18th Century, Irish targeted by the 19th Century Know-Nothings, and Asians and Jews excluded by law in the late 19th Century or first half of the 20th, is the essence of America and what America means.

Removing the term "nation of immigrants" from the USCIS mission statement is a little like removing the words that all people are created equal from the Declaration of Independence. It is just another very sad sign of the effect that anti-immigrant policies in the Donald Trump Era are having on America's deepest and most fundamental values of racial and religious equality - even as the new USCIS Mission Statement promises to defend "American values". Which ones? One might ask.

Unfortunately, while no one can accuse the USCIS director of prejudice against immigrants of color, the same cannot be said for Donald Trump himself, according to his own speeches and actions as candidate and president too numerous to mention (even though, unlike the neo-Nazis mentioned above, Trump is certainly not anti-Jewish) For just one of many recent examples of the president's attitude toward non-white immigrants, see the following December 23, 2017 New York Times report:


For the above reasons, the anti-immigrant policy direction that USCIS appears to be taking in its new Mission Statement is a matter of great concern. But it is of even more and immediate concern if this change in policy at the top of the agency which has primary responsibility for granting benefits to legal immigrants more than any other part of the government is actually affecting USCIS decision-making in individual cases.

This question is of particular concern as this year's H-1B season, with the almost inevitable blizzard (or hurricane, depending on the effect of immigration "climate change") of RFE's which we can expect based on last year's experience, is about to begin. I will discuss the anatomy of one such skewed decision in Part 2 of this comment.

Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive H-1B and other employment or family based work visas and green cards for more than 30 years. Roger has successfully responded to numerous H-1B RFE's raising questions about specialty occupation and related issues.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com