During a visit to the midwest, Francis Cissna, head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), discussed current immigration policy in the country as moving toward employer and economic need.
Cissna, named by President Donald Trump last year to lead the agency, met with Lincoln, Neb.-based employees of the area’s immigration service center in late July and then sat for an interview with a local publication outlet. He told the Lincoln Journal Star that policies now align to national interests with a priority on “highly-needed skills.”
“We are in a period of great change,” Cissna said. “Change is what the future holds.”
President Trump aims to shut down the Diversity Visa program, designed to attract immigrants with low national representation numbers. The president also narrowed the scope of family members eligible for green cards based on those with a current green card holder status.
The changes affect the “character of our immigration system,” but immigration itself remains as “part of our country (and) no doubt remains part of our national character,” Cissna. He also described the Trump policies as “more selective, but not less humanitarian.”
Still, Cissna’s humanitarian instincts include definite parameters. In addressing questions around the current southern border crisis where adults and children cross into the United States together as a family and then sent to separate detention facilities, Cissna said, “there need to be consequences” and that unprotected borders lead to the kind of results that “can be tragic.”
Part of the defense for family separations also includes child trafficking. By insisting on concrete proof of a biological relationship, proponents of the policy seek to deter the abuse of minors brought into the country for nefarious purposes.
Cissna describes family separation policies at the border as “sadly misinterpreted or misunderstood” by the news media.
Cissna, whose mother immigrated from Peru, raised eyebrows with his change of the USCIS mission statement, eliminating a description of the United States as a “nation of immigrants and shifted the focus of the agency to the administration of the “nation’s lawful immigration system.”