Ur Mendoza Jaddou has been appointed as the new director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), making her the first woman of Arabic and Mexican descent to head up the coveted position. With two decades of experience in immigration law, policy and administration, notwithstanding her family background of being raised by immigrants. There is much anticipation as to how she will proceed to rebuild and restore the Nation's immigration system to work fairly, swiftly and justly.
Prior to her appointment as the director of USCIS she was the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Watch, a project that focused on good governance and accountability in the immigration system. She has also been involved in implementing and developing congressional strategy for the U.S. Department of State as the deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. While her professional and academic career validates her appointment as the ideal candidate for the role. The world is eager to unpack her vision and objective for the USCIS and how her policies will affect the immigrants currently in the system and those that wish to start the immigration process.
Jaddou has aligned her USCIS primary objectives with that of the Biden- Harris foundation of making the US immigration system better. By focusing on the visa backlogs, decreasing visa processing times and working towards financial stability for the agency.
Last year the Federal Agency requested a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress to keep the agency efficient or they would have to furlough more than 13,000 employees. Due to the pandemic and the Trump administration travel restrictions the agency has seen a 50 per cent drop in applications and subsequently incoming fees. As traveling restrictions have been lifted and the world is opening up again, USCIS has averted their strategy to furlough 70 per cent of its workforce. Therefore, Jaddou’s strategy to positively change the agency’s financial situation comes at a great time.
The Biden-Harris administration has been vocal on their objectives to positively improve the immigration system, and as the USCIS is an integral part of the U.S. immigration system. Jaddou’s effort to effectively restore and rebuild the agency would need a fully operating USCIS. Ur Mendoza’s appointment brings increased hope of USCIS processing systems that are pro immigration. Her plans for the reversion to Trump made policies that focussed on restricting access to the US will reduce unnecessary immigration barriers and support the agency towards modernization.
As a top EB-5 agency in the Middle East, The American Legal Centre team looks forward to seeing the implementation of the changes that Jaddou has pledged to bring to the agency. “There was a time where EB-5 visas were processed within 6 months of submission, while we understand that we will not automatically return to those processing times, we do look forward to experiencing shorter processing times and quick approvals'' says Shai Zamanian (Shahriar Zamanian).