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Today, 319 local, and national immigrant, religious, and civil rights organizations sent a letter to the United States Senate urging Senators to oppose the confirmation of Lee Francis Cissna, President Donald Trump’s nomination to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal immigration agency charged with providing immigration benefits and humanitarian relief.
Further, the organizations urged Senators to place a “hold” on Mr. Cissna’s nomination, which would delay the Senate’s ability to vote on his nomination, until “Congress and the Administration develop and implement a permanent legislative solution to address the temporary nature of DACA.”
In light of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John F. Kelly’s recent statements that the federal government may not defend DACA in court and that the future of current protections for DACA-recipients is uncertain, it is imperative that the Senators delay this vote.
The signatories also question Mr. Cissna’s lack of experience, stating that:
USCIS is an agency charged with overseeing and administering our nation’s immigration and humanitarian relief systems. USCIS employs over 17,000 people in over 200 offices worldwide and operates with a budget of over $3.6 billion. At the height of his management experience, Mr. Cissna managed only 14 individuals.
Finally, the organizations criticize Mr. Cissna’s previous anti-immigrant work while at DHS and on behalf of Senator Grassley’s office, including attacks on “initiatives that reunited families and protected children facing violence, provided young people with [DACA], the opportunity to obtain travel documents, and assisted victims of crime, including those affected by domestic and sexual violence” and helping draft President Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
Read the full letter here.