As employees at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) continuously strive to improve their outreach to people from around the world who seek a better life, it comes as no surprise that personal stories of immigration are at the heart of the dedication for some of the dedicated workers. In a series of blog posts published on The Beacon in early May, USCIS tells the story of some USCIS employees in the agency’s celebration of Public Service Recognition Week.
The series, authored by writer Ben Rubenstein, relays the stories of four USCIS employees, each with a unique background that gives compassion and caring to the customers they now serve as agency employees. While these employees largely have years of separation between their former lives and the reality of their worlds today, the personal history of these everyday heroes fuels the passion each brings to their job.
Thirty-eight-year-old Slava Madorsky, for instance, is a USCIS Refugee officer who’s traveled the world interviewing applicants to determine their eligibility for refugee status due to prosecution or fear of prosecution. Officer Madorsky, who now trains officers for refugee interviewing, herself was born to Jewish parents in St. Petersburg– Leningrad during the Soviet era– in Russia. At age 11, Madorsky and her parents were granted refugee status in the United States.
“Coming from the Soviet Union, I was not used to people treating me well. One of my favorite things about the U.S. is how friendly people are,” she told The Beacon.
For native Texan Maribel (Mary) Gonzalez, a career at the USCIS is something she fell into almost by accident. Considering that Gonzalez spent six years in the U.S. Army before joining USCIS, answering the call to serve seems to be a part of her general nature.
“I fell into this career by chance and it has been a blessing,” she said.
Another particularly noteworthy profile in the series is the story of Thor Vue. Born in a refugee camp in Thailand after the Vietnam War, the 39-year-old Vue is a U.S. Navy veteran and has earned a law degree from the University of California. He’s now a senior procurement analyst at the USCIS Office of Contracting in Williston, Vermont with a passion for volunteering in his community. As a volunteer, Vue volunteers as a board member for affordable housing, working directly with county supervisors and the county planning commission.
“I’m very sympathetic to affordable housing,” Vue told The Beacon. “That’s the environment I grew up in.”