U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is winning awards and gaining recognition for technological innovation that’s designed to improve immigration processes. Winning an Igniting Innovation award and in the running to win a 2016 Service to America Medal, the agency is gaining recognition for its work in the development of user-friendly tools.
In late April, a panel of government and industry judges recognized USCIS as the overall winner for its work in the development of myUSCIS. Available in both English and Spanish myUSCIS helps users navigate the immigration process. Launched in December 2014, myUSCIS provides up-to-date information about immigration benefits, available resources for citizenship preparation classes, medical doctors across the country and the preparation tools for naturalization like the civics practice test.
The Partnership for Public Service has also recognized improvements at USCIS. Specifically, the agency’s associate director for Customer Service and Public Engagement, Mariela Melero, is a finalist for the 2016 Service to America Medals honoring excellence among federal employees. In the running for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, Melero was nominated for her work leading a team whose objective is to make finding immigration information quicker and easier. Her team has developed online and telephone services that are among the most customer-friendly in the federal government.
Melero and her team are behind the myUSCIS suite of online tools as well as the development of Emma, a virtual assistant that helps nearly 5,000 different users a day find answers to their questions in plain English. The team plans to release a Spanish version of the tool in the near future.
“The difference Mariela and her team have made for our customers by providing accessible customer-focused tools can’t be overstated,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez in a release. “Her selection as a finalist for this award reflects the hard work Mariela does every day for our agency and our customers. I am extremely proud of her for this well-deserved recognition.”
For Melero, herself an immigrant, the work seems to be a way of giving back. “I came to this country with my parents as a refugee,” Melero said in the release. “It is both an honor and a privilege to be able to help others navigate our immigration system.”